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How Do You Know If You’ve Been Charged With a Federal Crime?

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How Do You Know If You’ve Been Charged With a Federal Crime?

Being charged with a federal crime can be an overwhelming experience. It can be made even more overwhelming if you’re unclear about whether you’ve even been charged with a crime. As a citizen, you have every right to a fair trial and investigation. This is how to know if you’ve been charged with a federal crime.


There’s not much ambiguity when law enforcement arrives, places you in handcuffs, and reads you your rights. If you’re still unsure about whether or not you’ve been federally charged, as opposed to just charged by local law enforcement, see if your arresting officers are federally-based, such as FBI.

Charged Without Arrest

You don’t have to be put in handcuffs to be charged with a federal crime. You might receive a notice in the mail summoning you to federal court and detailing the charges. Make sure to read this to verify that these are indeed federal charges. As long as you’re keeping up with your mail, you should have enough time to make the necessary provisions to appear in court at their requested date. If you have a personal attorney, make sure to consult with them regarding the charges. You want to ensure that they will be available to represent you.

Investigation Without Arrest

Just because federal officers don’t have a warrant to arrest you’re in the clear. You might be greeted one day by FBI agents possessing a search warrant who look around your home. This means a judge has determined there’s enough of a possibility of incriminating evidence to allow for a search of your home. You need to understand your rights. Don’t be afraid to request physical evidence of a warrant. You also should remember to adhere to your right to remain silent, even if you haven’t been placed under arrest.

What To Say

If you learn or suspect that you’re under investigation for a federal crime, there might be an impulse to try to cover your tracks and insist upon your innocence, either at the time of a raid or when under questioning. This can greatly sabotage your case, as answering questions could leave you open to being caught in contradictions that could cast doubts over your innocence. You also shouldn’t be discussing your case with anyone but your attorney. The matters of your case should be considered confidential. Discussing them with others leaves them liable for questioning and investigation themselves. You could end up making your case even more complicated by discussing it.

What To Do

When you’ve been charged with a federal crime or are facing investigation, the best thing to do is nothing. You will need to consult with your lawyer and cooperate with authorities, but don’t do anything unless you’ve been specifically advised to do so. Do not tamper with evidence under any circumstances. Any files or documents that have been marked as evidence need to be kept intact. You could face additional charges of obstruction of justice. This also includes requesting any witnesses to your case recant or modify their testimony.

Legal Counsel

The right attorney can make all the difference when it comes to a federal investigation. If you’re in an industry that is frequently subject to federal charges, it would be wise to have a lawyer who can help to make sure you’re following all federal statutes to avoid the possibility of an investigation. Should you end up charged, you will have a better chance of fighting your case thanks to the guidance they’ve provided for you. Listen to their advice and do your best to face these circumstances with your head held high.

There needs to be as much transparency in our legal system. By holding those in power responsible for communicating about the state of your case, you’re showing that you take your rights very seriously. With the counsel of an experienced and dedicated attorney, you can have the best possible experience your case.

How Do You Know If You’ve Been Charged With a Federal Crime?

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