5 Steps to Take When Under Federal Investigation
Whether you received a subpoena or federal authorities knocked on your door, being under federal investigation for an alleged criminal offense can be stressful, confusing, and downright frightening. Despite the fact that you haven’t been formally charged, it is imperative to take certain measures to protect your rights and future.
The following are five steps you should take if you are under federal investigation:
- Hire a lawyer – As soon as you learn about the federal investigation against you, do not wait until you are charged. Instead, get an attorney who is licensed to practice in federal court right away. Your lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of each stage of the investigation, protect your from legal pitfalls, and defend you in court in the event your case reaches trial.
- Remember your rights – Although you are being investigated, your constitutional rights can still protect you. For instance, if federal authorities attempt to enter your property or your office without an arrest or search warrant, you have the right to refuse entrance and refuse to speak unless your lawyer is present.
- Don’t lie to federal agents – Whether it’s the FBI or ATF, they generally send two agents to interview alleged suspects of federal crimes. The reason why they work in pairs is because each agent also is a witness to whatever the suspect says. If you lie to these agents, each offense is can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence. Furthermore, you do not need to be under oath in order to be charged with lying to federal authorities.
- Only discuss the investigation with your attorney – While it may be natural to discuss the ongoing investigation with your friends, family, or associates, avoid doing so. Federal authorities can subpoena those your trust, forcing them to testify against you before a grand jury. Additionally, defense attorneys are not allowed at grand jury proceedings and cannot protect you against negative witness testimony. If you attempt to speak with a witness about what to say during the grand jury proceeding, it is considered witness tampering, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
- Don’t destroy evidence – Destroying, tampering, or even modifying evidence against you is considered obstruction of justice, which is also punishable by a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years.
At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our Plano federal crimes lawyer has 18 years of legal experience handling high-profile cases. Working with us as early in the process as possible will provide our firm with an ample amount of time to develop an effective defense strategy to help you get the most favorable outcome possible.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information about federal crimes today.