New Jersey Federal Investigations Lawyers
Federal investigations can encompass a wide variety of things. They may involve potential criminal charges or civil litigation. They may involve multiple agencies and law enforcement officials. It helps to be in contact with a law firm whose attorneys are experienced enough to handle many different types of federal investigation.
The first indication that many people have that they’re the target of an investigation is when they receive a subpoena. This mandates them to provide certain information to help federal agents make their case. By the time the situation progresses to the subpoena stage, the agents have already spent time investigating and begun compiling a compelling case.
Some people may be informed about an FBI investigation when they receive a Department of Justice letter about it. There have also been cases in which a person’s colleagues, friends, or clients are approached by federal agents first. They may find out about the investigation through those people.
FBI agents might arrive at your business or home with a search warrant to look for criminal activity. A grand jury subpoena is also a sign that you are the main subject of an investigation.
Being Contacted by FBI Agents
When FBI agents first make contact with you, the smartest thing is to assume that they are investigating you. It’s possible that they’re just approaching you as a witness or an alibi for another investigation, but you can’t rely on this possibility. FBI agents are allowed to lie during their investigative proceedings, and they will. You can’t trust that you aren’t the target just because they’ve said you aren’t.
Investigators will try to make you talk with them without a lawyer present. They are trained to intimidate or coerce you into giving up information. Everything you tell the FBI will be used in the case against you. None of it will help you. The agents are compiling discrepancies and looking for evidence that will let them press charges.
If an FBI agent asks to interview you, you are under no obligation to say yes. Even if you’re certain that you have nothing to hide, the smartest thing to do is talk to a lawyer. Asking for a lawyer will not make you look guiltier. It is your constitutional right. Innocent people are often waylaid by investigations.
Refusing to do the interview won’t actually change whether you’re a target, subject, or investigation witness. A lawyer can speak to federal agents for you and prepare you for any necessary interviews you need to do. Attorneys have a much easier job helping you if you don’t speak to the FBI or other federal law enforcement by yourself.
What to Do if You’re Being Investigated
People who are investigated by the FBI are likely to be at risk of criminal charges. If you negotiate a plea deal or are found guilty in court, you may be dealing with probation, prison time, and fines. Even formal charges can cause serious complications in your life even if you’re never convicted.
The actions of a target during an investigation have a big effect on whether or not they’re charged. If you get in contact with a good defense lawyer, they can alter the course of the investigation. It’s important to take the correct steps during the investigation process, rather than worrying about what to do at a potential trial.
When you first discover that you’re being investigated, you are at a significant disadvantage. The FBI or other federal agency has been compiling information for weeks, months, possibly years. They might have already gotten information like your social media postings, your phone records, and your bank accounts.
By bringing an attorney onto the scene early, you give your lawyer time to get familiar with the case. The faster they become familiar, the better they can defend you.
After you contact your lawyer, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself throughout the investigation.
First, don’t talk to anyone about the case. That includes friends, colleagues, family members, and strangers. Anyone might be colluding with government agents.
Second, take a social media break. Don’t post about your case on social media, and don’t post anything that might be used against you.
Third, don’t destroy evidence. By the time you find out about the investigation, the FBI usually has access to any evidence you might need to destroy. Destroying it will just confirm your guilt.