NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 22nd August 2023, 10:03 pm
Reacting to an FBI Search at Your Home
You’ve probably watched at least one movie where FBI agents come to a person’s home and start searching. Watching this unfold on the movie screen can be scary enough, but when it happens in real life, it can be downright frightening. Since federal agents don’t typically offer prior notice that they’re coming to serve a search warrant, you will likely be taken by surprise and thrown off guard. While your initial reaction may be panic and fright, there are a few things you should do right away to protect yourself.
Request a Copy of the Search Warrant
Federal agents may only search your proper with an official search warrant signed by a federal judge or with your consent. Your first step should be to ask the federal agents for a copy of the search warrant. If they don’t have a search warrant, you are under no obligation to give them permission to enter your property, and you should not grant them this permission without first talking to a criminal law attorney.
Facts about Obtaining a Search Warrant
To obtain a search warrant, federal officials must provide information, reports, and testimony to a federal judge. If the judge believes that there is probable cause, the judge can sign a search warrant allowing federal agents to search your premises. A copy of the search warrant will provide you with several key components of the investigation. First, it should list what specific federal agency, such as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), is serving the search warrant. Secondly, the search warrant will lay out what specific items, materials, and documents federal agents can search for and what areas of your property they can search.
Agents have the authority to remove any items listed in the search warrant that they find on your property. Agents also have the power to take any items, such as unregistered guns, that show signs of a possible crime, even if these items are not in the search warrant.
Contact a Criminal Law Attorney
Once you have a copy of the search warrant, your next step is to contact a criminal law attorney that has experience handling federal cases. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will want to see the official search warrant, so it’s important to hold onto it and keep it in a secure location. If you cannot immediately speak to your attorney, it is vital that you gather as much information as possible about the search itself.
For example, you should request the names or business cards for each federal agent participating in the search. You also want to track where agents search and what items they remove from your home. Because these situations can be very stressful and chaotic, it may not be easy to keep track of everything going on during the search. That’s ok. Just do your best to jot down what you do remember after the agents leave. You can then provide this document to your attorney.
Federal investigations can take months or even years to complete, so just because federal agents didn’t serve you with an arrest warrant doesn’t mean that you don’t need legal representation. Your best option is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier you bring attorneys into the process, the better able they will be to represent you fully.
Don’t Answer Any Questions
A search warrant does not give federal agents the right to questions you without a lawyer present, but that doesn’t mean the federal agents won’t try. They are free to ask you any questions they want. In some cases, agents may use this time to try to get you to provide information that may incriminate you later. You will protect yourself by remaining silent during the search until you have had time to consult with your attorney. Even if the federal agents serve an arrest warrant with the search warrant, it is important to evoke your fifth amendment right (Miranda Rights)and remain silent until your attorney can adequately represent you.
If federal agents have arrived at your front door with a search warrant, it’s essential to act fast. Start by asking for a copy of the search warrant and then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Search Warrants and Federal Agents
You should do several things when faced with a search warrant, but there are also things that you should not do. Your criminal defense attorney will advise you on what those things are, but the first thing you must not do is answer any of the federal agents’ questions. You may believe that you have nothing to hide, but this doesn’t mean that you should speak with federal agents.
Probable Cause and Search Warrants
Federal agents can show up at your door with a search warrant, but it is not necessarily valid. A search warrant must be based on the probability that the agents will find evidence that supports a federal crime. If the probable cause statute cannot be met, the search warrant is invalid.
On Talking to Federal Agents
Speaking to federal agents executing a search warrant is unnecessary, so you do not need to lie to these agents. You cannot be punished for failing to answer federal agents’ questions. Lying to federal agents can open you up to additional charges that could result in a five-year prison term.
Privacy at Home and Federal Intrusion
Your home is perhaps your most private space. The federal government has long recognized the home is a special place. Government officials are prohibited from entering your inner sanctum except under extremely defined circumstances. Officials must adhere to the laws set down in the fourth amendment to the constitution.
Handling Search Warrants
If a Search Warrant is Executed
Federal government officials can get a search warrant any time. You could be eating diner and suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of someone in your home against your will. Under these circumstances, it is best to carefully listen to the people doing the procedure and take a deep breath. The first thing you need to do is find out the person’s name and the organization they represent.
The first thing likely to happen before anything else does it that the people or person involved will give you a business card. If you don’t know what agency is being represented, if you can take a spare moment and google the name. You should also alert other members of your household.
Calling a Lawyer
After calming yourself down and getting everyone out of the way, now is the time to call a lawyer. A lawyer can talk to the prosecutor directly on your behalf and find out what charges are being brought against you.
What To Do First If Federal Agents Come to Your Home With a Search Warrant
Federal agents can come to your door and demand that you allow them entry, and they don’t have to let you know that they are on their way. This could be a total surprise to you, and that is how they like it. Being able to barge in on your home with the inability to stop them because they have a search warrant gives them the advantage, but learning what you should do when this occurs will tip the odds in your favor.
What Do You Do First?
Federal agents can invade your privacy whenever they feel like it. That means that they can execute a search warrant in the morning or at night. If they have a search warrant, they are entitled to search your property. This is the case for everyone whether they have engaged in criminal activity or not. Even so, you still have your rights, and you must let the federal agents know that you know exactly what they are.
Before a search can occur, you must learn what your rights are in this situation. As a subject under investigation for a federal crime, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Federal agents may begin to interrogate you, but these interrogations are meant to confuse you and force you to confess to crimes you may not have committed. It is not your job to defend yourself at this time; this will be up to your attorney. Anything you say can and will be used against you, so speaking to federal agents without your attorney may result in a conviction on federal charges. Therefore, only talk about this case with your attorney.
Your Second Action
The second thing you must do is gather all of the information you have about the matter. The federal agents will leave the search warrant with you, so you will be able to learn what the search was about with this document. They should also leave you their business cards. The agency the federal agents came from will tell you what type of issue they are investigating. For example, if they came from the Internal Revenue Service, the issue will be related to the tax code.
Your Third Action
While the search is going on, you need to watch the federal agents to ensure that they follow the rules outlined in the U.S. Constitution. If they fail to do this, your attorney may be able to have the evidence the agents find tossed out. This means that they have to act reasonably while they are in your home. For example, they must allow you to get dressed when they arrive, and they must show you the search warrant. When they first arrive, they are required to announce themselves.
During the time that they are in your home, you need to take notes. Write down all of their actions so that you have a record that you can share with your attorney. The information you will need includes what the agents said to you, how many agents showed up at your door, what time it was when they arrived and how you were treated. Write down everything about this time that you possibly can. You will need to write “Attorney-Client Privileged” at the top of each document so that it is clear that these notes are only to be seen by your attorney. Also, explain this at the beginning of your document.
Your Fourth Action
You must hire a federal criminal defense attorney. Then, you can present the documents the agents left you to your attorney. Your lawyer will contact the agents and the prosecutor. The fact that you hire an attorney and begin communicating with the agents will look very good to them. It will show that you believe that you are innocent of any crimes and that you will cooperate with the investigation.
After your lawyer learns what the charges are, he or she can begin working on your defense. This begins with an investigation. The federal government may have been investigating your case for years, so they will be much farther ahead than your attorney will be in this case. Therefore, you must not take too much time hiring your federal criminal defense attorney. It is essential that you hire a criminal defense attorney with experience working in the federal criminal courts. The end result may be that you must stand trial, so your attorney will need to be prepared to represent you.
Handling Federal Agents Searching Your Home
When agents from the federal government show up at a person’s home with a search warrant, it is a frightening experience. Individuals who are the subject of a federal investigation know it is a feeling of being powerless and feeling threatened. This is the government’s goal. They want people to realize government agents can go through their personal belongings and there is nothing they can do about it. There are certain things an individual should do if this happens to them.
It is possible the person being subjected to the search will not know that they’re part of a federal investigation. They need to gather as much information as possible from the federal agents in their home. It is common for the agents to leave a copy of the search warrant as well as business cards. The search warrant is the first clue about what is happening. The type of federal agent will also explain many things. If they are from the DEA, it will involve drugs. If they are from the IRS, it will deal with tax code violations and more.
Once a person’s home or business has been searched by federal agents, they should hire an attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals will contact the federal agents directly and work to speak with the prosecutor who is assigned to the case. Establishing a line of communication is essential. It will signal to the government that the individual is willing to cooperate. Doing this could also indicate the individual believes they are innocent of any federal criminal charges.
Even if a person believes they know their rights, they should speak with legal counsel to make sure they know all of their rights. Any person who is being subject to a federal investigation needs to remember their two most important rights. They have the right to have legal counsel and the right to remain silent. Nobody should try and defend themselves to the federal agents searching their home. Federal agents are experienced at asking questions that seem innocent but are intended to get someone to admit to breaking a law. Nobody should say anything during the search and then only speak with their attorney about it.
An attorney will know how to discover the reason for the search of their clients’ property by federal agents. It’s important to learn why the federal agents believe there is evidence at a specific location. An attorney will also know how to find out what evidence the agents were trying to obtain. This information will be essential for planning how to move forward after the search.
Record Details of the Search
The federal government is required to comply with all the laws established in the U.S. Constitution. This includes federal agents conducting their search at any location in a reasonable manner. Should the federal agents enter a location and not announce themselves, refuse to show their warrant, and not permit the residents to get dressed or behave in other unreasonable ways, it is a problem. An attorney could use this behavior to get any evidence discovered by the federal agents thrown out. A person should write down the details of what happened during their search. This includes the number of agents involved, what was said by the agents, their treatment of the person being investigated, and more. This information should then be given by a person directly to their attorney.
When a person is under federal investigation, they shouldn’t talk to anyone about their case except their attorney. A person facing this situation will be under a significant amount of stress. They may want to speak with someone about what is happening to them. They must realize there is no way for them to know who is working with the government. This could include friends, family members, co-workers, or any person an individual may believe they can trust. It is always possible that whatever they say will be immediately reported back to the federal agents conducting the investigation.
It’s important to realize that simply because federal agents have a warrant doesn’t mean it is valid. The U.S. Constitution provides certain criteria that a search warrant must meet to be valid. A search warrant has to be based on probable cause. If it can be proven the search warrant was overly broad in its description of how the search should be conducted or wasn’t based on probable cause, it could be ruled invalid.
A person facing a federal investigation should speak to an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Spodek Law Group will know how to get a person answers to their important questions. They will know how to discover the scope and nature of the government’s investigation. Their goal will be to protect their client’s rights and provide them with the best possible legal defense of their case.