What To Do First If Federal Agents Come to Your Home With a Search Warrant
Your home is perhaps your most private space. This is where you retreat after a long hard day at the office. It’s also where you eat, sleep and engage in intimate acts. The federal government has long recognized the home is a special place. As such, they have placed safety nets designed to protect your home from any form of federal intrusion. Government officials are prohibited from entering your inner sanctum except under extremely defined circumstances. In to enter your home they usually need to get what is known as a search warrant. Getting a search warrant is a highly specific form of documentation that requires officials to follow certain legal procedures. Officials must adhere to the laws set down in the fourth amendment to the constitution. This amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, protects people against the possibility of unwarranted intrusions in their home by government officials.
If It Happens
Federal government officials can get a search warrant any time. You could be eating diner and suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of someone in your home against your will and with the full sanction of the American government. Under these circumstances, it can be very hard to keep your temper in check. At the same time, now is the time to think logically and respond rationally. It is best to carefully listen to the people doing the procedure and take a deep breath. Under law, they have the right to investigate your home. However, those laws are not unlimited. The people doing the search must adhere to stated guidelines. The first thing you need to do is find out the person’s name and the organization they represent.
The first thing likely to happen before anything else does it that the people or person involved will give you a business card. This card should have information indicating the person’s name, the division they work for an other details such as an email address and a phone number.
A business card can tell you a great deal about the kind of charges you might be faced with going forward. For example, if you see this person works for the IRS, they are probably looking for tax records. If you see someone from another, specific government agency, you know the search warrant may be connected with that agency’s mission. If you don’t know what agency is being represented, if you can take a spare moment and google the name. This will often tell you a lot about the purpose of the search. You might also find further information about who to contact such as the person’s boss.
You should also alert other members of your household. If you have young children, now is the time to get them out of the house if you can to a relative or a neighbor. Notify a spouse. Even if they are sleeping, they’ll want to know what’s going on. No one wants to wake up in a nightgown only to find a stranger in their hallway. The same is true of any pets in the home. If your dog is likely to growl and bark at strangers, get them in a space where they will not interact with the official. The last thing you need to worry about is the possibility of being sued because you did not restrain your pet.
Call a Lawyer
After calming yourself down and getting everyone out of the way, now is the time to call a lawyer. Even in the middle of the night, the lawyer may have an answering service or someone on call ready to offer you the legal advice you need. A lawyer can talk to the prosecutor directly on your behalf and find out what charges are being brought against you. At that point, the lawyer can also begin to craft a defense on your behalf. The search may only be the first step in a difficult and complicated case that can possibly span a long time. Now is the time begin to seek legal help. It’s also the time to avoid speaking to anyone involved in the search warrant process unless you must.