If you find out or suspect you are under federal investigation by an entity like the FBI, it can be quite unsettling and nerve-wracking.
Federal investigations tend to be complex. It is likely that you are not going to be told precisely why someone wants to talk to you.
If you try to navigate a conversation with a federal agent on your own, things can get hairy for you very quickly.
Under Federal Investigation
If you do suspect you are under investigation by a federal agency, the first thing you need to do is contact a licensed and experienced federal attorney.
Without the help of an attorney at the beginning stages of an investigation, you could end up making critical errors that will jeopardize your ability to defend yourself later in the investigation or during a trial.
The first kind of error we often see is that people talk to investigators or give a statement without consulting a lawyer first.
If you are reading this, you might be under investigation or afraid you are under investigation.
There are times when people don’t realize they are making a mistake by talking to an agent until after the fact. Then, they have to deal with the consequences.
Many times, no conviction would have been possible without the self-incrimination of the defendant.
If you haven’t yet spoken to investigators or contacted an attorney, you are doing the right thing!
The best possible legal advice is to use your fifth-amendment rights. Do not at any time speak with investigators other than to identify yourself.
Once you have a skilled federal attorney working for you, let him or her do the talking for you.
We see it all the time. People want to be cooperative. Or they think they can talk their way out of the problem if they have a chance to explain.
It never works to their advantage. It often hands investigators their case.
After You Have Hired a Federal Defense Attorney
Three major pitfalls arise for some clients even after they have hired competent lawyers. In a Federal investigation, you must avoid these three things:
Do not speak to anyone else involved in the case.
Here’s a scenario. Many times, people don’t find out they are under investigation until an agent comes to search their home or business.
It’s a traumatic event and very disruptive of your life. You might feel tempted to tell the others involved in the investigation about what happened, to warn them or to get it off your chest.
However, you need to resist that temptation.
Anyone you talk to can be subpoenaed – or forced – to tell federal agents about your conversation. It could further incriminate you.
You could also be charged with obstruction of justice later in your case if you’ve talked about the wrong thing with someone else.
Do not lie
Another thing we repeatedly see in this line of work is defendants thinking they can lie to a federal agent or grand jury and get away with it.
Not only have you broken the number one rule, which is not to talk to federal agents. However, you have added another potential charge if and when agents find out you are lying.
Lying to a federal agent will be treated as a separate crime and potentially increase your sentence.
When in doubt, plead the fifth and contact your lawyer about what you can and can’t say to avoid self-incrimination.
Do not destroy evidence
It may be tempting to destroy documents or electronic files that contain evidence. However, the federal government is expert at finding when records have been deleted or tampered with.
You are more likely to be charged with another crime than to get away with destroying evidence.
Experienced Federal Defense Attorney in Michigan
The best thing you can do amid a federal investigation is to contact an experienced federal defense attorney immediately after you have been made aware that you are part of the investigation and remain silent when questioned.
After that, resist the urge to tamper with the case and instead trust your attorney to work on your behalf. It will go a long way toward getting you a favorable outcome.
If you are or your loved one is involved in a federal investigation, call my office for a free consultation today.