When you are the target of a government investigation, many thoughts run through your mind. Confusion, fear, and uncertainty add up to make you feel powerless and terrified. However, while government investigators are counting on you to be scared enough to do as they say, that is actually the worst thing you can do. Whether you are being investigated by the FBI, IRS, DEA, or other federal agency, the good news is that you have constitutional rights that entitle you to legal protection. But to ensure your case goes as well as possible, it’s important to have a solid understanding of all aspects regarding a government investigation case.
Realizing You Are Under Investigation
When the federal government decides to pursue an investigation against you, it often orchestrates encounters with you that aim to make you confused and disoriented. In many cases, their aim is to make sure you do not have an attorney present when being questioned in these so-called chance encounters. Often coming to your home or place of work, investigators hope to use intimidation to their advantage. However, when faced with these situations, it’s best to not say anything at all until you have an attorney by your side. In addition to their attempts to have you answer numerous questions, prosecutors may send you what’s known as a target letter, which states you are the subject of an investigation. Simultaneously, you may also be served with a subpoena requesting you turn over key documents to investigators. But no matter what may come your way in these matters, it’s vital to never do or say anything to investigators until you have legal representation from an experienced and knowledgeable government investigations lawyer.
Early Morning Searches
If you are the target of a government investigation, be prepared to have federal agents at your door early one morning. Armed with a search warrant, they may knock on your door or use a battering ram to enter your home, attempting to locate documents, photos, computer records, or other information deemed vital to proving their case. Along with the search warrant, agents often bring scripted questions with them for you and your family members, hoping to gain additional information while you are intimidated.
Should I Cooperate?
While many of these situations appear as if you have no choice but to cooperate, the fact is you should make the government’s job as difficult as possible. To begin with, you should remain silent, as should any members of your family. Rather than speaking to agents, you should simply request a search warrant return, which documents all items seized by agents. By taking these measures, you ensure your constitutional rights will be protected, and that your attorney will be able to act as a buffer between you and the federal government.
Penalties for Crimes
While there are various types of crimes that can be investigated by the government, many of them can result in similar penalties. Whether you are convicted of embezzlement, corruption and bribery, drug trafficking, identity theft, or other crimes, the penalties can involve prison time, fines, or a combination of the two. For defendants who have no prior criminal record or one with minimal convictions, probation or a sentence far less than the maximum may be imposed by the court. And contrary to some opinions, defendants found guilty of these crimes do not necessarily serve their sentence in a minimum-security prison. Depending upon the presiding judge and the circumstances surrounding the case, defendants may find themselves in medium or perhaps even a maximum-security prison. Other penalties may include a civil case being brought against a defendant, difficulty finding future employment, and deportation if they are not a United States citizen.
Contacting an Attorney
If you find yourself the target of a government investigation, it’s imperative you retain legal representation as soon as possible. To obtain the best results, hire an attorney skilled in handling these cases. By doing so, you will know what you may be facing and have an attorney who knows how to best prepare for your case. By communicating with your attorney in an honest and straightforward manner, you will give yourself the best chance possible to come out on top.
A subpoena is a document issued by a court that orders a person or entity to produce physical evidence or testify in connection with a pending case. It doesn’t allege that the recipient has done anything that might be against the law. It’s merely a way of compelling a person who might have information about a case to court or another location to testify or produce evidence. The subpoena sets forth when and where specific evidence is to be produced or when and where a person is required to testify in a case.
Types of subpoenas
There are generally two types of subpoenas. The first is a subpoena ad testificandum that requires a person to present himself or herself and testify in a court proceeding. The second type is a subpoena duces tecum for production of physical evidence. Physical evidence might include records, documents, computer files or the like. A subpoena duces tecum does not require actual testimony.
Subpoena in a civil case
If a subpoena is issued in a civil case, production of evidence or testimony might be for a deposition that is held outside of court at an attorney’s or court reporter’s office. It might also be issued for testimony in court in front of a judge or jury.
Content of a subpoena
A validly issued subpoena should contain certain specific information. A careful examination will reveal:
Service of a subpoena
A subpoena can be served by any deputy, a licensed process server or any person over the age of 18. A copy of the original subpoena is what is actually served. A witness fee plus mileage allowance is ordinarily required to accompany the subpoena.
Failure to appear
Failure to appear as commanded by a subpoena can result in being held in contempt of court and a jail sentence. Compensation fees to any parties who were damaged by a failure might also be awarded. A judge might also order the county sheriff to take the person who failed to appear into custody to be brought before him or her.
Motions in connection with subpoenas
There are times when a person who was served with a subpoena might want to modify it or fix its conditions. It might even be objected to it in its entirety. If the subpoena requires a court appearance, the law requires the person to act promptly pursuant to a motion in the court where the subpoena is returnable. If it’s not returnable in a court, any request to modify it, fix its conditions or quash it must first be discussed with the person who issued it. If an accord can’t be reached on a subpoena that is not returnable in court, any motion to modify it, fix its conditions or quash it is required to be heard in court. Courts are allowed to impose reasonable conditions in granting or denying a motion to modify or quash a subpoena.
If you or your business have been served with a subpoena that you object to, note the date and time of service along with how it was served, and contact our offices right away so that prompt action can be taken to preserve your objections and defenses. There are limits to subpoena power, and courts take those abuses of those limits seriously. You can contact us at any one of our three offices, and we can arrange for a free consultation and evaluation. We’ll then advise you of your options. The law requires you to make any objections to a subpoena promptly, so contact us right away at 888-997-2152.
Todd is a miracle worker who will work tirelessly for you and your family. He is one of the few attorneys i've met - who I earnestly trust to protect me, and who I am happy to refer to our friends and fellow family members. The Spodek Law Group is someone you want on your side, because they will treat you just like family. Todd and his team are available 24/7, and they always answered our calls. Even when we were being irrational, and crazy - they were calm and super helpful. Just call Todd. He gives you a free consultation and is very understanding.- Donna & Robert
85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005
35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106
195 Montague St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201