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Federal Target Letters

Understanding Federal Target Letters: What You Need to Know


The federal target letter is one of the most important documents you might see. This is a notification from federal prosecutors that you are under investigation for a potential crime. Getting a federal target letter can fill you with uncertainty, and anxiety. In this article, we’ll give you the most information possible about federal target letters, and our goal is to help you navigate this difficult situation.

What is a Federal Target Letter?

This is a formal letter, issued by the DOJ, or a federal prosecutor, that says you are the target of a criminal investigation. There are three parts to a target letter: the type of investigation, a statement of your rights, and an invitation to testify infront of a grand jury. The federal target letter will outline the nature of the crime, your rights, an invitation to testify, or speak to a federal prosecutor. It’s important to realize that the target letter is a serious issue, it’s not an indictment, or guarantee of one. It’s a clear signal though – that you are probably involved in a criminal investigation, and that action is needed. There are a few types of federal target letters. There are two primary target letters you might get, each with different implications, from different federal entities.

The first type of target letter is from a federal prosecutor. This letter will let you know that you are the target of a federal investigation. In this situation, being the “target” means there is a lot of evidence linking you to a crime. The prosecutor believes that they can indict you based on the evidence. This letter will give you information about the nature of the crime you’re suspected of, your rights, and the right to legal representation.

The second type of target letter is issued by the grand jury directly. This is notifying you that you are the target of an investigation. This is is issued when the grand jury has already convened, and is actively looking at the alleged crime. Regardless of where it came from, this is a serious notification.

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If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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Why You Might Receive a Federal Target Letter

If you get a federal target letter to testify before the grand jury, it means that they are interested in hearing your side of the story, and getting access to any information you might have that could be relevant. You have the right to legal representation when dealing with federal investigations, but it’s important to note that the rules within a grand jury proceeding are different than a typical courtroom. Your attorney isn’t allowed in the room during the testimony. This is designed to maintain the independence of the jury’s investigation.

Even though your attorney isn’t present in the grand jury room, they can play a crucial role. Before you testify, your federal defense lawyer can help prepare you for the types of questions you might receive. While you’re testifying, you have the right to step out of a grand jury room to consult with your criminal lawyer.

Receiving a federal target letter can be the result of being implicated in a federal investigation. This can be due to various reasons, like being linked to a crime by evidence gathered, being named by a witness or other party that was involved in the crime.

Target letters are often used by federal prosecutors, or investigations, when they believe they have evidence linking you to a crime – but they may not have enough to secure an indictment. They may still be building their case. The target letter is a way to serve as a formal notification that you are under investigation. It can be used to invite you to engage in the legal process.

There are several reasons why you might get a target letter, instead of immediately being indicted and arrested.

Investigation: The investigation is still happening, and the prosecutor is looking for more evidence before moving forward.

Negotiation: The target letter is a starting point for negotiations. In some cases, you might choose to cooperate with the investigation, provide information, or agree to a plea.

Strategy: It is a move on the prosecutors part. By notifying you that you’re a target, the prosecutor is trying to induce you to make certain steps: making statements, or taking steps, that can provide additional evidence.

Rights: The target letter serves to tell you your rights, including your right to legal representation. This is an attempt to handle the investigation, and give you an opportunity to engage and get legal counsel.

What to Do If You Receive a Federal Target Letter

Receiving a federal target letter can be alarming. It’s crucial not to panic. Do not ignore the letter, or delay responding to it. The target letter is an indication that you’re under federal investigation. Any delay, can complicate the situation. Your attorney will reach out, and help you craft a response. If necessary, the attorney will reach out to the prosecutor to gather more information. If the target letter includes an invitation to testify before a grand jury, then your criminal attorney will decide for you. This is an important decision. This communication, the federal target letter, is to inform you that you’re the target of a federal grand jury investigation. It is to prompt you to either contact the prosecutor directly, or consult with an attorney who will communicate on your behalf.

Working with a Federal Lawyer

Most federal lawyers will tell you, testifying before a grand jury after a federal target letter is a high-risk situation. Many attorneys will advise against it.

Unlike in a trial, your attorney isn’t allowed to be present in the grand jury room during your testimony. It means you don’t get legal counsel, and you can’t object to inappropriate questions. Without the immediate help of an attorney, there’s a risk you might say something that can incriminate yourself, unintentionally. Anything you can be used against you in a trial.

Grand jury proceedings are very one-sided. The prosecutor tells their case, and the defense doesn’t have an opportunity to do the same. This is imbalanced, and can create a difficult situation for you. Unlike a trial, there’s no cross-examination of witnesses in a grand jury proceedings. It means if you testify, your attorney won’t have the opportunity to challenge anything. Because of this, many federal criminal lawyers will advise their clients not to testify before a grand jury.

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