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Talking to Federal Agents After a Target Letter: Why You Shouldn’t Do It Without an Attorney

Talking to Federal Agents After a Target Letter: Why You Shouldn’t Do It Without an Attorney

So you got a letter in the mail from the FBI or some other federal agency saying you’re the “target” of an investigation. Scary stuff! This is known as a “target letter” and it means the government thinks you did something illegal.

Your first instinct might be to call up the agents and explain your side of the story. I totally get it – you want to clear this whole thing up. But that can be a big mistake, and make your situation way worse. Here’s why you shouldn’t talk to federal agents without an attorney after getting a target letter.

What is a Target Letter?

A target letter is how the government tells you that you’re being investigated for a federal crime. It usually says:

  • You’re the “target” of an investigation
  • What crime they think you did
  • You can call the prosecutor to “explain”
  • You have the right to an attorney

It’s basically a heads up that you might get charged. The government doesn’t have to send one, but if you get one it’s pretty serious. It means they have evidence against you and charges are likely coming.

Why Do They Send Target Letters?

Prosecutors send target letters for a few reasons:

  • To notify you that charges are probably coming
  • To get you to cooperate and possibly take a plea deal
  • To get more evidence from you

The letter will often say you can call the prosecutor to “explain” your side. But this is usually a trap! They’re hoping you’ll say something incriminating they can use against you.

Why You Shouldn’t Talk Without a Lawyer

Here’s why you shouldn’t call the agents or prosecutor after getting a target letter:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Anything you say can be used against you, even if you’re innocent
  • You could accidentally lie and get charged with false statements
  • You give up your leverage to negotiate a plea deal
  • You might admit to something without realizing it
  • You won’t know the strength of their evidence

See, federal agents are really good at getting people to talk – even innocent folks. They’ll act all friendly and pretend they just want to “clear things up.” But they’re building a case against you. Even if you don’t think you did anything wrong, talking is incredibly risky.

Get a Lawyer First

Here’s what you should do if you get a target letter:

  1. Don’t talk to the agents or anyone else about the investigation
  2. Hire an experienced federal defense lawyer
  3. Have the lawyer contact the prosecutor to get info
  4. Discuss your options – cooperate, negotiate, go to trial, etc.
  5. Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to testify or make a statement

Having an experienced lawyer on your side levels the playing field. They’ll deal with the agents and prosecutor for you. They’ll find out what evidence the government has, pick apart any weaknesses, and negotiate the best resolution.

Without a lawyer, you’re basically going into a gunfight empty-handed. So don’t let your anxiety get the best of you and do something rash. Getting charged with a federal crime is terrifying. Having an advocate on your side can make all the difference.

The government doesn’t send target letters randomly – their evidence probably sounds pretty convincing. So don’t wait and hope it all goes away. The sooner you hire a lawyer after getting a target letter, the better.

Common Mistakes People Make

Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make after getting a target letter:

  • Ignoring it: Hoping it’ll just go away. But the investigation will keep going with or without you.
  • Panicking: Destroying evidence or fleeing. This almost always makes things much worse!
  • Talking to witnesses: Witnesses could be cooperating, so this could really backfire.
  • Lying to agents: Even if you’re innocent, getting charged with false statements is easy.
  • Waiting too long: Evidence can disappear and memories fade over time.

All these can really come back to bite you. So don’t go it alone – protect yourself by hiring an experienced federal defense lawyer right away.

Conclusion

Getting a target letter feels terrifying. Your instinct is probably to call the agents and set things straight. But without an experienced lawyer on your side, that’s incredibly risky and can do more harm than good. Anything you say can literally be used against you, even if you’re 100% innocent.

So take a deep breath, don’t panic, and call a trusted federal defense attorney. Having an expert defend you against the government’s charges can make all the difference. They’ll protect your rights, avoid mistakes, and get you the best possible outcome.

The stakes are high, so don’t go through this alone. Get help from someone who’s been there before. Hiring a great lawyer is your best shot at protecting your future after a target letter.

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