Do you suspect you are under investigation by federal law enforcement agents? Often the federal government conducts investigations long before making an arrest. The investigation process costs time and money and law enforcement expects an investigation to lead to results. Rarely do you have the benefit of advanced warning, but there are indications to watch out for.
How does an investigation start?
The federal criminal justice process begins with a federal investigation where law enforcement agents investigate potential infractions. The investigation may start after law enforcement receives information regarding a crime or come about from information gathered by intelligence or regulatory agencies. During the investigation, they attempt to determine if you broke the law and gather evidence to support their findings.
As noted, federal investigations are often lengthy and conducted in secret. You may not find out you were the subject of an investigation until one of the following happens:
- Federal law enforcement agents arrive at your home or work and attempt to interrogate you
- Federal agents serve you with a search warrant
- You receive a subpoena asking you to testify or provide documentation
- You receive a target letter letting you know you are a target of a Grand Jury investigation
- A friend or relative contacts you after receiving a subpoena to provide information about your activities
Mistakes to avoid
If you suspect you are under investigation, it’s important to remain calm and rational. Do not talk to others, including law enforcement, without a skilled federal crimes attorney present. Anything you say could hamper your case. Do not destroy any documents related to the possible investigation, even computer records. This will only lead to further trouble.
Whether you are guilty or innocence, being investigated for a crime is a harrowing experience. An experienced lawyer can help you cooperate with law enforcement while protecting your rights.