What to Do If You Are Under Federal Investigation

Before being arrested or indicted for a federal crime, the first stage of the legal process in federal court is a criminal investigation. If federal authorities are notified of a credible, alleged offense—whether by the alleged victim, witness, or a third party—the government will launch an investigation into the matter to determine if a federal crime was committed and by whom. 

The following are the main federal agencies tasked to investigate federal offenses: 

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 

  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) 

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 

  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 

  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) 

These federal agencies investigate both civil and criminal violations of federal law. All of them report to federal prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which will decide whether to conduct a formal criminal investigation or file federal charges. 

As soon as you discover that you may be involved in a federal criminal investigation, the following are several steps you must immediately take to protect your rights and freedom: 

  1. Determine if you are really under investigation – If the FBI or another federal agency is contacting or interviewing your friends, former business partners, or acquaintances, and your name is being mentioned. The truth is that you may be involved in a federal investigation if federal authorities directly contact you, you receive a grand jury subpoena, you receive a target letter, federal agents raid your home or workplace.  

  1. Avoid talking to federal agents – Although you may believe that you are innocent and willing to cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation, do not talk to them whatsoever. Perhaps the agents may assure you that you are not in trouble, but they will take advantage of you feeling overwhelmed and shocked by the investigation. In fact, federal agents are permitted to lie to you in order to make you voluntarily provide potentially incriminating information.  

  1. Hire an experienced federal criminal lawyer – If you are involved in a federal investigation, there is a possibility you may be arrested and later indicted by federal prosecutors – no matter if you are the main target or a witness. Once you obtain legal representation, your attorney will listen to your story and concerns, thoroughly examine your situation, determine your available legal options, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the investigation and if charges are filed. 

  1. Do not destroy documents or otherwise interfere with the investigation – If you try to take matters into your own hands and interfere with a federal investigation, you could be charged with obstruction of justice. If you attempt to contact potential witnesses, you could be charged with witness tampering. Lastly, destroying documents that may relate to the federal investigation is also a federal crime. Instead, you should make copies of any pertinent documents and give them to your attorney to figure out the best course of action. 

At The Hoffman Firm, our founding attorney has more than 17 years of legal experience handling federal crimes throughout Florida. Attorney Evan Hoffman will determine how and why the federal criminal investigation started and defend you in each step of the legal process. 

If you have been accused of a federal crime in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, call us at (305) 928-1669 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. 

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