Advice For People Facing Federal Criminal Charges
Those who break federal criminal laws might be brought up on federal criminal charges. These accusations can be incredibly serious and can result in hefty fines and even time spent in prison. If you find yourself facing these charges, it’s important that you follow the advice below. Doing so will not only help you to plan for what happens next, but it will also help you to make better choices during the investigation.
Be Ready to Be Searched
It’s very likely that a search for evidence will be part of your overall experience with the criminal justice system. When a federal investigation is held, it’s very likely that the investigators will obtain a search warrant to search for specific items or information in your possession. It’s very important that you are aware of whether or not there is a search warrant and, if there is, what the warrant covers.
Once you know what the warrant covers, be prepared to be cooperative. Destroying or hiding evidence is considered an obstruction of justice, which is a separate federal charge. You do not, however, have to volunteer to hand over information or items that are not covered under the warrant. Cooperate when you must, but don’t allow the investigators to overstep their bounds.
If you have ever seen a police procedural, you have seen a police officer tell a suspect that he or she has the right to remain silent. This is not just standard boilerplate – it’s absolutely vital that you avail yourself of this right. Under no circumstances should you volunteer information or answer questions without your attorney present. Cooperation is good, but only when you are sure that your rights are being protected.
It is also necessary for you to stay quiet about the investigation when interacting with others. The more information you share with people outside of the investigation, the more potential witnesses against you there might be. This will be a good time to let your social media go dark and to make sure that you step away from your larger social circle. Keep information about the charges and the investigation to yourself to whatever degree you feel is possible.
Tell the Truth
There are certain circumstances in which you must speak. The investigators may ask a question that must be answered, or they may ask a question that your attorney feels is worth answering. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to be honest. The investigators may seem to rely on you to get information, but remember that they are also pursuing other avenues of investigation. If you lie, you can find yourself in very serious trouble.
A good rule of thumb is to answer questions without going outside of the scope of the question. If you can give a simple answer that doesn’t involve any other facts, do so. If you are not sure if you should be answering the question at all, make sure to talk with your attorney. Failure to do so can land you in even more trouble.
Hire a Lawyer
If you do nothing else during this process, make sure that you hire a lawyer. A good lawyer who has a history of dealing with federal criminal charges will help you to stay aware of your rights and make sure that you get through the investigation without doing anything that will get you in even more trouble with the law.
A good lawyer may not necessarily be able to prove that you are innocent, but he or she will help to make sure that the deck is not overly stacked against you. The lawyer will let you know when you need to cooperate and when it is in your best interest to stay silent. The attorney will also help you to understand when the investigators are overstepping their boundaries and when your rights might be threatened by certain actions.
There is no easy way to get past federal criminal charges. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that the investigation is conducted fairly and that your rights are respected during the process. Once that is done, you should be able to depend on your attorney to give you the kind of zealous representation that you deserve.