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When federal investigators come knocking

Before federal prosecutors hand down an indictment, investigators often contact a person who is under suspicion of a federal crime. FBI agents or other federal officials, such as agents from the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, regularly seek statements from potential witnesses and individuals who are suspected of a federal offense. There are a variety of ways federal investigators may reach out to a suspect, including in person, over the phone or via subpoena.

Federal Agents Are Not Looking To Have Tea With You

One thing is clear: When federal agents conduct an investigation, they are not looking to make friends with someone they suspect has committed a crime. For many hardworking people, it is tempting to voluntarily speak with members of law enforcement in an effort to explain away any suspicion. Unfortunately, any statements a person voluntarily makes will be used against them. It is not likely that a person will ever be able to talk their way out of an investigation.

When law enforcement pursues a criminal investigation, anyone who may be suspected of a crime should consider seeking the guidance and representation of a lawyer who has substantial federal criminal defense experience. You do not have to wait until formal charges are filed to benefit from working with a defense lawyer.

Miranda Warnings Are Only Required For 'Custodial Interrogations'

It is important to understand that law enforcement does not have to advise you of your Miranda rights if you voluntarily speak with investigators. Miranda warnings are not given in voluntary, noncustodial conversations. Moreover, it is important to remain silent about potential issues that may be related to a criminal investigation. Confiding in friends, colleagues, family members, or anyone else except your criminal defense lawyer carries a tremendous risk that the statements will be used against you. Members of law enforcement can reach out to an individual's acquaintances and learn what the individual has said about an issue.

While it is critical to remain silent, it is also wise to refrain from deleting data from computers and other electronic devices. Destroying evidence in digital or paper form may make matters worse. Before taking any action, a lawyer can explain the potential consequences of an action to allow you to make informed choices as you move forward.

It is prudent for anyone contacted by law enforcement to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. You may respectfully decline to answer any questions without the guidance and presence of a lawyer. It is important to make it clear that you are requesting the presence of an attorney for any questioning.

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