Finding out that you’re under federal investigation can make your blood run cold. If that’s happened to you, it’s understandable that you have some questions. Once you’ve read this information and learned how we help, call our offices at (888) 727-5154 or request a free case evaluation with one of our experienced defense lawyers.
Government Investigations Explained
There are several different ways that you may find out that you’re under investigation.
First, you may receive a visit from a federal agent from one of many investigatory agencies such as:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- The United States Secret Service (USSS)
- Homeland Security Investigation (DHS/HSI)
Second, you may receive what’s known as a “target letter” from an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), letting you know that you are the target of a federal investigation.
The third way you may find out you’re under investigation is by receiving a document subpoena from a grand jury. A grand jury must be convened for before bringing charges for federal felony offenses.
One of the most unpleasant ways to be notified that you’re under investigation is to have federal investigators arrive at your door with a search warrant.
Finally, you may find out from friends or colleagues that they are under investigation, and that you may be implicated.
Regardless of how you find out that you’re under investigation, the first thing you need to do is to call an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
Defending Against a Government Investigation
What NOT to do in a Government Investigation
- Don’t make any statements to investigators without having an attorney present. If a federal investigator approaches you, immediately tell them that you will not make any statements and that you want to talk to your attorney. Your first instinct may be to try to prove your innocence to the investigator. This is a bad idea. Any statements that you make may be used against you.
- Don’t talk to friends, family, or colleagues about the investigation. This is especially true if others are under investigation as well. Anyone that you talk to may be called to testify against you. Any questions that you ask may give the government insight into your thought processes and knowledge. This may be used against you later.
- Don’t destroy or modify documents. Destroying or modifying documents may be considered obstruction of justice. Don’t shred documents and don’t delete electronic files. The government is trained in recovering deleted data, no matter how far you’ve gone to delete it.
- Don’t lie to the government. This goes back to not making statements to the government. Just don’t say anything about your case. If you lie, that is obstruction of justice and is chargeable as a separate offense.
What to DO in a Government Investigation
- Do talk to an attorney. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about the crime for which you are being investigated.
- Do be honest with your attorney. We have a natural inclination to want to show our best side to those around us. This is not the time for pride. If you have information that may be damaging to your case, tell your attorney immediately. It’s best if he or she hear it from you so he or she can mitigate the damage.
- Do organize yourself. Take notes on everything that is happening to you with regard to the investigation. Keep a journal of your memories of all of the events leading up to the investigation. Keep a record of everyone you’ve talked to about the case and what was said. Gather all documents and files that may have something to do with the investigation.
- Do protect yourself. Every file that you keep regarding this investigation should be clearly and prominently labeled “Attorney Client Privileged” or “Attorney Client Communication.” This is true for both handwritten and electronic documents. Doing this will better protect your rights if government investigators find these documents.
Hire an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
It is imperative to talk to an attorney as soon as you find out that you are under investigation. The attorneys at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP include former federal prosecutors and experienced legal counsel that can protect your rights and fight your criminal charges. To get started with your defense, contact Lynette or Nick today by calling (888) 727-5154 to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation today.