Are You Being Investigated by a Federal Agency?
If you think you can talk your way out of a criminal investigation, in most cases you will be wrong. The one person with whom you can talk about an investigation without fear of your words being used against you is a criminal defense lawyer. Attorney-client privilege protects just about anything you tell an attorney from being disclosed and used against you.
If you still think you can talk your way out of a criminal charge or criminal investigation, talk to a lawyer first. If you want to tell the police your side of the story, at least do so with an attorney by your side who can protect your rights.
Expert Tip: Generally, the rule against hearsay means that when someone makes a statement prior to trial, that statement is not admissible at trial — the prior statement is hearsay if it is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. However, Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2) provides that a statement is not hearsay if it is made by the defendant and offered into evidence by the Government. Thus, admissions by a defendant are admissible as evidence against them. United States v. Dukagjini, 326 F.3d. 45 (2nd Cir. 2002) (cooperating witness' testimony that the defendant had told him about his possession of a firearm was admissible at trial as non-hearsay admission). For this reason, it is critical that you make no statements (including social media posts, texts, and emails) to anyone regarding your case prior to hiring an attorney. Too often, defendants make the Government's case for it by talking about the facts of their case with friends and acquaintances or by giving statements to police.
Federal Criminal Investigations
If you have been questioned by federal agents regarding an alleged crime, it's likely that you are or may soon become the target of the investigation or a suspect in the commission of the criminal act. You may have received a target letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office indicating that you are under investigation by a federal grand jury.
Investigations can last a few days or as long as several years and are common in cases of alleged:
- White collar crimes, including tax fraud, embezzlement, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud
- Sex crimes, including Internet sex crimes and distribution or possession of child pornography
- Drug crimes, including drug trafficking
A statute of limitations (time limits) may apply to the crime for which you are being investigated. This limitations period sets a deadline for the prosecutor to charge you with a crime or be forever barred from pursuing you for the criminal act.
When enough evidence is collected to tie you to a crime, it's likely that the prosecutor will move forward to press charges against you via a grand jury indictment or information. At that point, an arrest warrant will be issued and, instead of coming to ask questions or collect documents, the police will arrive to take you into custody.
What Should You Do If You Are Being Investigated?
As soon as you know you are under investigation for a federal crime, you should contact an attorney. Not only are your discussions with your attorney confidential, he or she may be able to limit the scope of the investigation being conducted, to secure your participation in exchange for a lenient sentence or prevent the filing of criminal charges against you at all.
If you're under investigation or have recently been sent a target letter, the time to act is now. Call federal defense attorney Patrick Roberts at 800-760-9071 or send an email to request a consultation. Read more about Patrick Roberts here.
North Carolina vs. M.W.
Charge: Charge: Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon (4 Counts), First Degree Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon
Facing: 12 - 17 years in prison
An incarcerated defendant accused our client of participating in the robbery of a group of youth at a party. We were able to raise doubt as to the credibility of this individual. In the end, the prosecutor dismissed these charges, citing a lack of evidence.