What Should I Do If I’m Under Federal Investigation?
Learning that you are under federal investigation can be daunting. As a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that the steps and actions you take will have a big impact on how an investigation proceeds – and which, if any, criminal charges may arise from it.
If you learn that you are under investigation, contact an attorney immediately. They will advise you of your rights and be an advocate for you throughout the process. If law enforcement arrives at your home, or place of business, before you can speak with a lawyer, do not speak with them. While it’s important to be cooperative, remember ‘anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law’. You have the right to ask for a lawyer. At this point in the investigation, your innocence or certainty that you have done nothing wrong does not matter – allow an experienced attorney to speak on your behalf.
What Do I Do If They Have a Search Warrant?
If they have a search warrant, you need to let them perform their job. Keep quiet, be cooperative, and let them know if there are any weapons, animals, or other people at the property. Beyond this, do not offer any other information. Federal agents are extremely professional and courteous, and it’s in your best interest to stand aside while they do their work. For most people, this is a stressful and scary situation. The agents will likely be armed, but in most cases, they are not going to be rude, abrupt, or overly aggressive.
What Do I Do If a Law Enforcement Agent Calls Me?
They may try to contact you by leaving a business card or by calling to set up an appointment to talk with you. First, contact a lawyer. Once you have legal representation, call the agent and ask if a U.S. attorney has been assigned to the case. If yes, call the U.S. attorney to let them know that you have retained a lawyer, and if they can share information on why you are under investigation. After consulting with your lawyer, you may also arrange to self-surrender if charges are filed – rather than potentially be arrested.
What Do I Do If I’m Charged with a Crime?
Your lawyer is served with a summons and will accept it on your behalf. You could walk into court, rather than risk being arrested. This is a key difference between having, and not having, a lawyer at this stage in the process. And once in court, your lawyer will negotiate terms of release, so you are not taken into custody at your initial appearance – or perhaps at any stage, unless or until that was required by the outcome of the case.
If you have committed an offense, your lawyer will try to negotiate a ‘pre-indictment deal’ with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This could involve cooperation, requiring you to speak with the US attorney and the agents investigating your case. You would answer all questions they have about your case to fulfill the terms of the deal.
As a result of this cooperation, you may be charged with fewer or lesser counts – and should you be sentenced at the end of the case, it would work to mitigate that sentence. By entering the court with an already-signed plea agreement, the court will understand that you are cooperating with the U.S. attorney. They’ll be more likely to go along with the agreement, and let you walk into and out of the initial appearance of your own volition.
If you are ever contacted by law enforcement and are advised that you – or anyone you know – is under investigation by any federal agency, contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Whether this is the FBI, DEA, IRS, ATF, USPS – or any others – having counsel that will advocate for you is vital to both how your case proceeds, and the ultimate outcome of the investigation.
Contact the Law Office of Diane Bass If You’re Under Federal Investigation
If you’re under investigation or charged with serious crimes, the most important step you can take is seeking qualified legal representation.
With over twenty-five years of Federal and Criminal Defense experience, you can trust the compassionate and aggressive legal representation at the Law Office of Diane Bass, a Professional Law Corporation.
Make sure your rights are protected by calling (949) 264-0696 today to schedule a free consultation or fill out the requested information on our firm contact form. We’ll help you understand your rights, protect your freedom, and move forward.