02 Aug 23


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Last Updated on: 31st August 2023, 07:05 pm

What to Do If You Receive a Target Letter from the United States Attorney

Receiving a target letter from the United States Attorney can be overwhelming and stressful. It’s important to take immediate legal action if you receive one. The letter is sent to inform you that you are the target of a federal investigation, specifying the area of law being investigated. While it may seem like cooperating with investigators will help your case, it’s not advisable without first consulting an experienced defense lawyer.

How to Protect Yourself Against the United States Attorney

During the initial stages of a federal investigation, you may be questioned or have your home or office searched by agencies such as DEA or FBI. If charges are ultimately brought against you, an assistant U.S attorney or United States Attorney will handle your case.

To prevent prosecution from building a strong case against you, it’s crucial to have an experienced defense lawyer on your side. At Spodek Law Group led by Todd Spodek, we have professional experience in defending clients during any federal criminal investigation.

First Steps in Federal Investigation – Receiving A Target Letter

If approached or questioned by federal investigators during an ongoing investigation, remain calm and do not say anything until your defense lawyer arrives. Lying about anything could lead to obstruction charges; therefore, use your right to remain silent and right to counsel before speaking with anyone else.

If initial questioning does not result in cooperation from you as requested by investigators, then expect receiving a target letter if investigations proceed further. In any situation where this happens after receiving such letters requesting interviews for assistance with investigations or appearing as grand jury witnesses should only happen when accompanied by their respective lawyers.

What Is The Letter Asking?

All target letters aim at getting recipients’ course of action towards assisting investigations voluntarily through meetings with investigating agents and attorneys testifying before juries hiring lawyers who meet prosecutors on their behalf among others.
However tempting it might seem contacting prosecutors yourself explaining things is ill-advised as anything said or done may be used against you. Instead, seek advice from a knowledgeable defense lawyer.

Understanding The “Target”

In federal criminal investigations, individuals are categorized as targets, subjects, or witnesses. If you receive a target letter, it means that the prosecutor and law enforcement agencies believe that you were involved in something illegal.

Possible Defenses to White-Collar Crime

If facing white-collar crime charges, several defenses might be available to use such as duress entrapment absence of intent lack of evidence among others. Additionally, cases may get dropped if prosecutors assigned other cases or case agents targeting retire.
Conviction for white-collar crimes could lead to jail time restitution fines forfeiture home detention supervised release among others; therefore seeking legal counsel is crucial.

Target Letters and Federal Investigation Defense

If receiving a target letter contact Spodek Law Group immediately for an experienced defense lawyer on your side. Our legal team will advise on what needs saying and doing during investigations while protecting clients throughout the process even into possible trials.

As one of the leading legal firms trusted by clients to deliver exceptional defense in both misdemeanor and felony cases our professionalism knowledge experience can handle any situation tirelessly ensuring rights protected interests defended.
Don’t wait any longer take action today call toll-free number send us message online learn more about how top-tier defense team protects defends clients’ interests. Remember contacting Todd Spodek at Spodek Law Group is the first step towards protecting yourself during federal investigation.

What To Do First If You Get A Target Letter

If you’ve received a target letter from anyone claiming to be a Federal prosecutor, it is important that you take the proper legal steps immediately. Target letters are sent to any individual that is being targeted for a grand jury investigation. These letters are addressed to the targeted individual and sent from the Department of Justice.

If You’ve Received a Target Letter

Typically, when the government issues a target letter, they have linked the recipient to some sort of white-collar crime. If you’ve received such a letter, it is likely your name has been associated with tax fraud, fraudulent theft, wire fraud, or something similar.

While a target letter isn’t a prison sentence, it is something that should be taken very seriously. Target letters often indicate that you are facing indictment by a Federal court. Whatever the situation may be, you need to retain an attorney as soon as possible.

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Finding a lawyer is the first step to take after receiving a target letter. In most target letters, the recipient is threatened with legal action whether they do or do not comply. While this is a stressful time, it is imperative that you choose the right lawyer that will be able to fight for you.

What Is the Letter Asking?

All target letters are sent as a way to get the recipient to take some course of action. Most letters will ask the recipient to come to a meeting with the Federal agent and attorney that are investigating the case, testify voluntarily before the jury, or hire a lawyer who will then meet with the prosecutor.

While you may be inclined to do either of the above on your own, the best option for you is to get a lawyer and have them contact the prosecutor. Never reach out to the prosecutor yourself to explain your side of things, as the prosecution will try to use anything that you say or do against you.

Understanding the “Target”

Federal criminal investigations place people into three categories: target, subject, and witness. If you have been made the target, you’re at the center of the investigation. This means that the prosecutor and law enforcement agency believe that you were involved in something illegal.

What Happens Next

Once you are put in touch with a lawyer, you’ll be able to figure out your next steps. At this time, it is important to discuss whatever information the prosecution may have on you, what the likelihood is that you’ll be convicted in a trial, and what exactly the government is offering. Your lawyer will recommend the best course of action for you.

If the prosecution isn’t set on prosecuting you and are just searching for answers, your attorney will have more leeway. Your attorney will sit down with the prosecutor to see what the charges are. You’ll meet with your lawyer afterwards and, together, you’ll be able to prepare your presentation to explain why you should not be prosecuted.

Possible defenses to white-collar crime:

  • Duress: This is a defense that you can use if you were threatened with bodily harm as a way to compel you to commit the crime.
  • Entrapment: This defense can be used if law enforcement officials coerced you into committing the criminal act that you wouldn’t have committed otherwise.
  • Absence of Intent: This can be used if you that had no intention of committing the crime.
  • A Lack of Evidence: In other situations, you may find that there is not enough evidence for the prosecutor to indict you, resulting in the case falling through.
  • The Case is Dropped: Sometimes, prosecutors get assigned to other cases or the particular case agent that was targeting you retires.

In the event that you are convicted for a white-collar crime, you may find yourself facing the following: jail time, restitution, fines, forfeiture, home detention, or supervised release. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you should speak with a Federal criminal attorney as soon as possible.

What To Do First If You Get A Target Letter?

Federal Criminal Investigations

Federal criminal investigations are often large in scope, are intricate, and potentially involve numerous individuals. Federal criminal charges are serious accusations. Therefore, the government usually exercises significant caution when determining which individuals to formally accuse.

Under specific circumstances, subjects who said bureaucracy might believe had some involvement in varying federal criminal offenses might be sent a document called a target letter.

About The Spodek Law Group

The Spodek Law Group, a team of skilled federal criminal defense lawyers serving New Jersey residents, requests their followers read this piece offering explanation regarding what a target letter is, in addition to the most appropriate actions those receiving said correspondences should take.


Federal government officials draft target letters to inform intended recipients that they might soon be subject to federal criminal prosecution.

These documents are authored following an investigation. Said undertakings often yield enough evidence to suggest that letter recipients engaged in some type of wrongdoing. Typically, however, target letters are issued to those suspected of engaging in one or more forms of white-collar offenses.

Information Contained Within

Said correspondences usually contain several key facets of information including the specific act the accused is believed to have committed, information on how to obtain legal representation should they not be able to afford said benefit, the alleged individual’s involvement in a grand jury investigations, and said subject’s right to remain silent.

Furthermore, the document might warn the recipient not take any potentially detrimental actions that might hinder or interfere with the ongoing investigation and may even invite said party to further discuss the issue with prosecutors.

Are Target Letters Merely A Prelude To Criminal Charges?

The short answer to this question is not necessarily. Occasionally, prosecutors cannot find enough credible evidence to proceed with charges or formal indictments.

Steps Recipients Are Encouraged To Take

Do Not Act Impulsively

Granted, receiving such a correspondence is stressful. That said, the individual in question should not make any rash decisions. They should, however, refrain from engaging in any actions federal authorities caution them not to partake in.

Consult With An Experienced Attorney

Again, it is crucial to reiterate that federal criminal charges are often complex. Therefore, target letter recipients are strongly encouraged to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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Said legal professionals can consult with prosecutors on the client’s behalf and learn important information such as if the government intends to press charges, discover any particulars about the investigation prosecutors are at liberty to disclose, and agree upon possible ways the underlying issue can be resolved.

The Benefits Of Sending Target Letters

Target letters are far less formal than other means of pursuing prospective subjects of criminal investigations. Legal instruments like subpoenas, the dispatching of federal agents to conduct target interviews, and search warrant executions cannot be undertaken without a judge’s authorization.

Potential Defensive Strategies

Most federal criminal defense attorneys maintain that a target letter recipient should never subscribe to a wait and see approach. Rather, said individual and their legal representation should promptly and actively respond to such inquiry.

Contacting Us

Individuals who have received target letters are firmly urged to contact the legal professionals at the Spodek Law Firm. We have extensive experience handling such cases, can review a client’s specific circumstances, and formulate the best possible response strategy.

What To Do First If You Receive A Target Letter

If you are the target of a grand jury investigation, you will receive a letter from the federal prosecutor or the Department of Justice informing you of the matter. This letter, which is called a target letter, means that a federal law enforcement agency is actively investigating you for one or more federal crimes. More than that, it indicates that there is substantial evidence against you. However, a target letter does not mean that you are definitely going to prison or even that you may be indicted by a grand jury. It is simply the first step in a lengthy criminal process. You understandably need to step lightly when you are the target of a criminal investigation, so what should you do at this point?

Hire a Defense Attorney

One of the most important initial steps that you should take after receiving a target letter is to hire a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can review the letter and provide you with detailed guidance covering the next steps. Hiring the right lawyer at this early stage in the legal process is crucial. Criminal defense lawyers generally have specialized experience with specific types of federal crimes. Target letters are often associated with white-collar crimes, but many crimes fall under this umbrella. A lawyer with experience defending clients in racketeering cases may not have experience with securities fraud or blackmail, for example. With this in mind, you should spend time identifying experienced lawyers serving your area with detailed, relevant knowledge.

Put Your Lawyer in the Driver’s Seat

During an initial consultation with your new criminal defense attorney, he or she will review the target letter closely. Your target letter will outline the crimes that you are being investigated for, and it will state your legal rights. For example, target letters often mention the Fifth Amendment, which covers self-incrimination. The letter may also have specific instructions, such as those related to cooperating with law enforcement officials, not destroying evidence and more. Some letters specifically ask the target to appear in front of a grand jury as a next step. It is important to let your lawyer take the lead. He or she will contact the prosecution and make other arrangements as necessary.

Gather Facts About the Investigation

Many federal criminal investigations for white-collar crimes and other types of crimes may last for months or years. The target of an investigation may receive a target letter at any point in the investigation. Your criminal defense lawyer should be able to research the matter. By doing so, you can determine if the prosecution has already built a strong case against you or if the investigation is in an early stage. This distinction can impact the steps that your lawyer takes to establish a defense, and it will steer the legal process going forward.

Discuss Your Options

If you hire an attorney who has considerable experience with target letters and federal grand jury investigations, he or she will be aware of strategies for proceeding on solid footing. For example, if the investigation has progressed and the prosecution is close to seeking an indictment, your attorney may structure a plea deal. By doing so, you may avoid a lengthy trial. You may also receive a lighter sentence based on your plea. If the investigation is in its infancy, on the other hand, some attorneys may be able to get the prosecution to drop the case. The specific strategies and outcomes will vary greatly based on the circumstances of the case. In all situations, you should closely follow the guidance of your defense attorney so that you can more fully take advantage of his or her services.

Learn About the Federal Criminal Process

If this is your first experience with the federal criminal process, you understandably may not know what to expect. By learning more about the process, you may be able to reduce your stress level and have a better idea about the actions you and your lawyer should take. Keep in mind that your lawyer should communicate openly with you about the process as the case progresses. A grand jury investigation may result in a formal indictment. An arrest warrant will be issued, and you will officially be charged with a crime. You will then have an initial court appearance. This occurs within 72 hours after the arrest. The court will decide on matters related to bail and pretrial detention. The process then progresses to discovery, and initial motions may be filed. If a plea bargain has not already been reached, it may be negotiated at this time. A plea bargain must be approved by the judge. Later stages in the federal criminal defense process are the trial, sentencing, post-trial motions and appeals.

Request a Legal Consultation Today

At Spodek Law Group, our team of attorneys is available to represent you throughout the grand jury investigation and beyond. The best time to reach out to a criminal defense attorney is as soon as you receive a target letter. To learn more about our legal services and to request a free initial consultation, contact Spodek Law Group Today.