There are few circumstances more disturbing than learning you are the subject of a law enforcement investigation. If the investigating agency is the FBI, SEC or other federal entity, the prospects are even more daunting. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t panic. By avoiding a few common mistakes, and talking to a lawyer as soon as possible, you can put yourself in a better position to defend against any eventual charges you may face.
Don’t make careless statements
It can be tempting to speak freely with investigators, especially when you know you are innocent. This can be a grave mistake. Federal investigators are highly trained at tripping up suspects. They know how to get you to say things that may be in the government’s best interests, but are surely not in your own best interests. By having a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer by your side, you can undergo questioning with a strong safeguard against self-incrimination.
Don’t destroy evidence
It’s a crime to destroy or tamper with evidence in a criminal investigation. Even if you are not guilty of the underlying crime, such activities can result in a fresh set of criminal charges. It’s all too easy to inadvertently destroy evidence, especially if you work for a company that has routine protocols for document shredding and other security measures. Consult with an attorney before continuing with these activities or if you have any questions about what may or may not constitute evidence tampering.
A federal investigation is not a problem that will go away on its own. You must be proactive in strengthening your legal position, as the federal government has vast resources at its disposal and may already have been investigating you or your business for months. Talk to an attorney who understands the nuances of the federal criminal justice system, because this legal arena is profoundly different from the state system.