Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 11:36 am
Being approached by federal agents or investigators can be an intimidating and unnerving experience. Many people aren’t sure what rights they have or how they should respond in such a situation. Here’s some advice on what to do if you find yourself being questioned by the feds.
First off, try to stay calm. I know that’s easier said than done when FBI agents flash their badges at you. But getting upset or angry will only make things worse. Take some deep breaths and keep your composure. Don’t get into an argument with the agents. Be respectful and professional.
You have the right to remain silent and you should exercise that right. Anything you say to federal agents can be used against you, so its best not to say anything at all until you have a lawyer present. Be polite but firm in declining to answer questions without an attorney present. Say something like “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to answer any questions without my lawyer here.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that we have to unambiguously invoke our right to remain silent. That means you have to say out loud to the officers that you are invoking your right to remain silent. It’s not enough to just start remaining silent without telling them you are invoking your right not to speak. Tell them politely but firmly “I am going to invoke my right to remain silent.” Then stop answering questions.
Lying to federal agents is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 1001. So even if you are super nervous and want to downplay things or deny any wrongdoing, don’t do it. Making false statements can get you charged with a separate federal offense.
The agents may ask to search you, your car, or your home. You have the right to refuse consent for any of these searches. You don’t have to give a reason, just politely decline to give consent. Say something like “I do not consent to any searches.” If they have a warrant, they don’t need your consent anyway.
If the agents decide to arrest you, do not physically resist. That will only result in additional charges against you. Also do not attempt to destroy evidence or obstruct the investigation in any way. That could lead to an obstruction of justice charge.
If you are being questioned or arrested by federal agents, your first phone call should be to a criminal defense lawyer. Do not call your spouse, parent, friend, etc – call your attorney. A good lawyer can help protect your rights, negotiate with investigators, and work to minimize the impact on your life. The earlier you get legal help the better.
Some good resources for finding a qualified criminal defense lawyer include:
Look for a lawyer with experience handling federal cases like yours. Be sure to discuss fee structures and retain their services as soon as possible.
You should avoid discussing the investigation with anyone other than your lawyer. Any information you reveal, even to close friends or family, could potentially get back to the investigators. So keep quiet about the details and tell your lawyer first before you talk to anyone else.
If the federal agents serve you with any warrants, subpoenas, or other documents – ask for copies before they leave. You have a right to copies of any paperwork relating to the investigation. Provide those immediately to your attorney.
As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the encounter with the federal agents. Record the date, time, location, names/agencies of the agents, and detailed notes about what questions they asked and what you said in response. Provide this account to your lawyer – it could help your defense down the road.
Your lawyer is there to protect your interests and walk you through the investigation process. Follow their advice about how to respond to investigators, whether to testify or make statements, document requests, etc. Don’t take any major actions without consulting your attorney first.
Remember that federal agents and prosecutors wield immense power. They can issue subpoenas, get search warrants, threaten charges, and make your life very unpleasant. You are at an inherent disadvantage. Having an experienced lawyer helps balance the scales and ensures your rights are protected.
You may think you can outwit the feds if you’re clever enough. But their job is to build cases. They usually have far more resources and experience than you do. Trying to play games is not likely to turn out well. Be direct, honest, and transparent – with your lawyer’s help.
Federal investigations are lengthy, detailed, and methodical. Expect it to take many months or even years before your case is resolved. Be patient and let your lawyer handle things – don’t try to speed up the process on your own.
Even if you are the target of a federal case, you still have constitutional and legal rights. You have the right to remain silent, to speak with an attorney, and to fair treatment. Don’t let intimidating agents cause you to give up those rights.
Dealing with a federal investigation is scary. But by staying calm, invoking your rights, hiring a good lawyer, and not talking to anyone but your attorney, you can get through it and end up with the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
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