Different federal agencies may start an investigation towards individuals or corporations. At the top of investigators is the FBI, who protect the United States of America against foreign intelligence threats, terrorism and enforce the USA’s criminal laws. They also combat criminal organizations, major white-collar crime, public corruption, and other significant violent crimes.
It is normal to feel terrified and powerless if you happen to be the federal investigation target. However, with an experienced defense attorney from Spodek Law Group, we can make the process less confusing, answer all your questions, and walk you through, helping you understand what to expect in such a situation.
There are several ways an individual can learn that they are under investigation, which include a knock on the door by law enforcement officers or at your job, a letter from a US Attorney’s Office, or a subpoena.
It is also essential to keep in mind that federal law enforcement agents may orchestrate encounters with you to disorient and confuse you into talking with them without the presence of your attorney.
In such a situation, the first thing you should consider is whether to talk to the investigating officers. They may try to make you feel like not talking to them implies that you are hiding something.
A search warrant is an approval document from a judge or magistrate that purports to contain evidence or probable cause that you committed a federal crime. You have items or documents related to the said crime.
In case you are served with a search warrant, it is in your best interest to talk to your lawyer before talking to anyone. If you go ahead and speak to the investigators and probably say something inaccurate or wrong, you may face charges. The charges may often be a lie or obstruction of justice, which is easy to prove any other underlying crime.
Agents purposefully show up at your home when you are most likely sleeping, intending to surprise and disorient you with their entrance. The agents come prepared with skillfully crafted questions by the prosecutors for you and your unsuspecting family members. Therefore, it is inappropriate to decline any questioning by the investigators until considering the situation and talking to your lawyer.
When federal investigators put you in a situation designed to destress and confuse you, the best you can do is remain silent and politely decline to answer any questions posed by the agents. You are not obligated to speak to law enforcement agents, nor is your family. However, you should politely request a search warrant return, which is documentation of all items seized by the agents.
In some cases, you may have time to contact your lawyer. For a subpoena requesting you to produce documents or appear before a Grand Jury, your lawyer should take you through what privileges may be available to object to the questions they are asking. If you do not object to disclosing something privileged, you may waive the privilege.
Your attorney will examine and learn about your situation to determine the status. By talking to the prosecutor, you may be a target, a subject, or a witness to the investigation. You can also move from being a witness to being a subject and later become a target as the investigation progresses.
By accepting to talk to the agents, you may be privileged against answering certain lines of questioning. These privileges may not apply to you but to other people. Therefore you should request more time to talk to your lawyer than infringing on other people’s privileges. In extreme circumstances, whereby you are guilty, by cooperating with the government agents, you may be able to reduce your punishment.
For federal employees, the Office of Inspector General’s agents may contact you and request to speak to you. Most federal agencies have an Office of Inspector General and usually have a condition for employees to talk to OIG agents.
Violations of this federal agency’s regulations often amount to a crime, and they can be as simple as an incorrect time slip. The agent may show up unannounced at your workplace and request to speak to you. You then make a quick decision about whether to talk to them or not.
Just because the federal agents are investigating you does not necessarily mean there is evidence of you being guilty. Remember, people in positions of power are always under investigation every day, and they are mostly about multiple issues such as:
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