You may not realize that you are under scrutiny from federal investigators until they show up at your job or maybe knock on your front door with a warrant. Any kind of criminal charge or investigation can be stressful and frightening, but federal investigations are particularly worrisome.
Certain federal offenses come with minimum mandatory sentences, and you face federal incarceration if you plead guilty or get convicted. Depending on the nature of the offense and the sentence that you received, you could wind up incarcerated far away from your home and your loved ones.
Following a few tips can help you better manage the stress of being the subject of a federal investigation.
Don’t try to go it alone
Federal investigations don’t always lead to charges, but they may lead to detainment and questioning. Partnering with a lawyer who has experience with federal criminal cases even before you face charges will help you understand your rights and assert them if federal investigators try to bully you into giving up your rights.
Be aware of how you could implicate yourself
Those subject to federal investigations might assume that very few resources will go toward investigating their case, but how much effort goes into the investigation depends on the nature of the allegations and the personality of the professionals involved. If there is someone who strongly believes you have ties to criminal activity, they might go to extreme lengths to prove their suspicions.
Being careful about the communications you have with others, especially in writing or via telecommunications, is important. So is being judicious about what you do in your home. For example, you might think that throwing out everything that seems legally questionable now would protect you in case federal investigators come to search your home with a warrant later. However, they could go through your trash without a warrant and find the items you wanted to hide from them all in one place.
Know your rights when talking to investigators
Police officers and federal investigators can easily lie to you and get away with it. You misrepresenting things or even misremembering something could lead to charges eventually. Many people facing federal investigations don’t face charges due to specific crimes but rather things that they said to investigators. Having an attorney present or invoking your right to stay silent could protect you.
Proactively protecting yourself is likely in your best interests if you believe you are the subject of a federal criminal investigation. The right steps now can reduce your risk of serious criminal charges in the future.