Federal criminal investigations should not be taken lightly, it means the government believes you committed a federal crime, has begun interviewing witnesses, gathering documents, and maybe even recording your conversations. It can take years for the government to present its evidence to a grand jury for indictment. Even if the government eventually decides not to file charges and terminates its investigation, trying to live your life under a cloud of suspicion until that happens is burdensome and stressful. You need a federal government investigations attorney to guide you through your federal investigation.
If you suspect you’re under federal investigation, Stracci Law Group should be your first call. We serve Crown Point, Gary, Portage, and other cities and towns throughout Northwest Indiana.
Am I Under Federal Investigation?
Many people don’t realize they can be under investigation for some time without even knowing they are being investigated. Grand jury proceedings are secret and grand juries can indict you with a federal crime without notifying you or even giving you a chance to speak in your defense.
The first hint that a federal investigation is in progress often comes in the form of agent contact, in person with you while at home or work, by telephone, or when family members, friends, and co-workers notify you that an agent stopped by to ask them questions about you. Agents are well trained and are often able to solicit damaging statements from you or those you know by using sophisticated and well-practiced forms of interrogation.
These federal agencies include:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- The United States Secret Service (USSS)
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- The Postal Inspection Service (USPS)
- The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
As soon as you realize that you might be under federal investigation, you need to contact a federal government investigations attorney.
What is My Investigation Status - Target, Witness, or Subject?
The federal government will assign you one of three possible statuses: subject, target, or witness. Even if you know you are under federal investigation, you may have no idea which status the government has assigned to you. Following are descriptions.
If you are a subject, the government suspects you of criminal activity but is not certain. The government is in the process of gathering information to decide whether to indict you with a federal crime.
If you are a target, the federal government believes it has substantial evidence linking you to the commission of a federal crime. It will begin by presenting evidence against you to a federal grand jury while continuing to search for even more evidence. The government may even send you a “target letter'' to inform you that you are the target of a federal grand jury investigation.
If you are a witness, the government either suspects you played a small role in the commission of a federal crime and wants you to testify or cooperate against those it deems most culpable, or the government doesn’t suspect you were involved in any criminal activity, but thinks you might have some sort of information that a grand jury might find useful in deciding whether to issue an indictment against someone else.
Grand Jury Subpoenas
The federal government charges people with crimes by presenting evidence to a grand jury and asking its members to issue an indictment. If you witnessed, know something about, or actually took part in a federal crime, you may receive a federal grand jury subpoena that requires you to testify in front of the grand jury, provide documents, or both.
The federal system is complicated. Mistakes, poor decisions, even choices that seemed right at the time can turn into federal crimes like perjury, false statements, or obstruction of justice.
If you are ever served with a federal grand jury subpoena, either for documents or testimony, you need to seek guidance from a federal government investigations attorney to ensure you do not implicate yourself in criminal activity, inadvertently violate the law, or otherwise supply the government with a motive to indict you.
Federal judges or magistrates have the power to issue search and seizure warrants for your person, home, place of business, other properties, computer, cell phone, and even your DNA for evidence of a crime. Search warrants are court orders based on a finding of probable cause to believe that (1) a crime has been committed and (2) evidence of that crime can be found in the place to be searched.
One of the most invasive intrusions any government can make is entry into the home where you sleep at night and raise your children. When executing a search warrant on a private residence, federal agents must “knock and announce” their identity, authority and purpose, and demand to enter before entering the home. When federal agents have reasonable grounds to believe their physical safety is at stake by knocking and announcing, they seek a “no knock” search warrant that allows them to enter by battering ram or other force without first announcing their presence. Either way, agents will come with a list of items to search for and questions to ask you and your family while you are still surprised, confused, and disoriented.
What Should I Do If I Am Under Federal Investigation?
The most important things to do if you discover you are under investigation by having federal agents show up with a warrant to search your home, business, or person are:
- Remain silent. This is by far the most important advice.
- Call your attorney. If your attorney is in court or otherwise unavailable, explain what is going on so you can immediately be directed to another attorney in the law firm,
- Request a written list of all items that the agents seized during the search.
Stracci Law Will Relentlessly Defend You Against a Federal Investigation.
Once you learn that the federal government is investigating you, do not hesitate to hire a federal criminal defense lawyer experienced in federal criminal investigations like the team at Stracci Law Group. Stracci Law Group will notify federal authorities that it has been hired to represent you and that all further inquiries must be redirected to their law office. Stracci Law Group takes all steps needed to prove your innocence, from fully investigating the allegations, to gathering exculpatory evidence, and all the way to fighting it out in court. We will take good care of you, it’s what we do.