Are You the Subject of a State or Federal Criminal Investigation? Keep These 5 Things in Mind

If you received a notice that you’re under suspicion of a white collar offense, you’re now the subject of a state or federal criminal investigation. Although there’s no reason to panic at this stage, it’s important for you to understand the gravity of the situation. You’ll have to take immediate action to get the situation under control, so keep these initial tips in mind before you start to formulate a plan.

1) Contact an attorney ASAP

The moment you learn that you are under investigation, you should contact a lawyer who has a strong background in state or federal criminal investigations. Your attorney will be able to instruct you throughout the process, ensuring that you don’t make any costly mistakes or missteps.

2) Don’t speak with investigators

Until you’ve spoken to your lawyer, don’t cooperate with the federal or state investigators. You’re not obligated to answer their questions. Remember that it’s their job to get information from you, and they may use various tactics to make you incriminate yourself. Similarly, don’t step outside of your home or invite them inside. They must have a warrant to enter your home without your consent, and if they do, ask to see it and call your attorney.

3) Don’t lie or destroy documents

This may seem self-evident, but when you’re feeling the pressure of a criminal investigation, you may be tempted to hide the truth—even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Investigators can often tell when electronic documents have been deleted, and they can use that information against you. Destroying evidence and lying to federal agents are both separate crimes that could lead to your prosecution, so avoid them at all costs.

4) Don’t share the details

The safest thing to do is avoid discussing the investigation with anyone but your lawyer. If you divulge details about the case to someone else, they may be approached by law enforcement or given a subpoena to testify against you. And never ask anyone to lie for you.

5) Learn about the case against you

Work alongside your lawyer to find out exactly what sort of case law enforcement has built against you. Your attorney will reach out to the agent or prosecutor in charge of your case to get more information. You should also do your best to be honest and cooperative with your lawyer, telling them anything and everything that may be relevant to the investigation and helping them collect any documents you may need.

The attorneys at Cove Law have extensive experience in white collar regulatory and criminal defense. Whether you’re the subject of a state or federal investigation, we can guide you through the procedures and help you prepare a winning strategy before the case progresses to trial. Give us a call to start building a formidable defense.

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Written by Andrew Cove

Cove Law has significant experience defending federal investigations and formal actions by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Finance Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as similar matters on the state level by the respective state Attorney General’s Offices and other local agencies.