What Should Someone Do If They Are Being Investigated For A Federal Crime?
If you are aware that you are under any type of federal investigation, the first thing you need to do is talk to a federal criminal defense attorney. The reason is federal cases are very factual, and it depends on what kind of investigation the person is subject to, and how that plays into what their next steps should be, if any. You want to avoid any steps that would make it appear that you were doing anything to try to destroy evidence, or prevent any evidence obtained from law enforcement. In my experience, I have found that these federal investigations, because they are financed by the United States government, have resources that can astound you with the amount of information and evidence they are able to recover. You certainly do not want to go on a shredding spree where everything is shredded. You want to consult with counsel first. There may be valuable evidence, or valuable defense involved in some of that evidence that you are rushing to get rid of.
What is The Best Way To Proceed If Federal Agents Want To meet With Someone?
The best way to handle federal agents who call for a meeting is to always be polite, cordial, and if possible, find out more information as to why they want to meet with you. Oftentimes, people will be contacted as it relates to a federal investigation, but that is a minute portion of the investigation. Perhaps they are contacting an employer to verify that someone worked there for a specific amount of time, or to verify that someone did not work at a certain place. If you are contacted, and if there is any inclination that you are a focus of an investigation, or a potential witness, we advise that you do not meet the agents without first consulting with an attorney, or having your attorney present.
Every federal agent is trained and understands the law. They will not take it negatively if you politely let them know that you would prefer to consult with an attorney before saying anything further. Let them know that you are going to take down their contact information, you will quickly meet with the attorney, and either you or the attorney will respond back to the agent as soon as possible.
How Likely Is It For Someone Under Federal Investigation To Be Arrested Or To Face Charges?
It all depends on the type of investigation, charges, and the ability of the individual agency that is investigating the alleged crime to find evidence against that person. Many federal investigations conclude with only a small percentage of the involved defendants charged. There are opportunities where people can be charged, because of an internal decision at the United States attorney’s office, or perhaps another investigating agency. Charges are not pursued if the person had a minute role or because of other considerations such as national safety, or other scenarios that would supersede whatever federal crimes are being investigated. There are times when people are investigated for federal crimes, but they never know that they were under investigation, and the charge never comes to fruition. Very frequently, clients will receive a target letter.
A target letter is something from a federal agency, and it informs an individual that they are the target of an ongoing federal investigation. You will frequently see that target letters are sent in white collar or fraud cases. Therefore, in that circumstance, you receive some type of alert that you are under investigation. For most of the drug conspiracy and drug distribution charges, because these agencies are operating undercover investigations, individuals will never know that they are under investigation until the agency starts making arrests. These arrests usually come later in these types of cases.
What Is The Role Of A Grand Jury In a Federal Criminal Case?
The primary role of the grand jury is to consider evidence presented by the prosecution, and make a determination as to probable cause. That is one of the lowest thresholds of proofs in the American legal system. The grand jury happens without the defendant or defense counsel present. The information and the evidence that is presented to the Grand Jury is typically done through the investigating case agent. For example, there was a lead agent from the FBI, or the ATF that was investigating a case, or has been assigned the lead, they will testify under oath before a grand jury as to the results of the investigation, and evidence that they have against a particular defendant, or defendants. The grand jury then deliberates with that information, and makes a determination as to whether probable cause exists, and that a crime was committed. It is more likely the person, the defendant, or the defendants actually committed that crime.
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