What Happens if Federal Agents Show Up at Your Door?
It’s 6 a.m., and you wake to someone pounding at your door. You stumble out of bed. Answer the door. And you cannot believe your eyes. Two federal agents are on your front stoop, showing their badges and asking to come inside. You are sleepy, disoriented, and have no idea why they are there. Or maybe you do. Either way, your response should be the same: tell them you wish to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and that you wish to consult with an attorney.
Assert Your Right to Remain Silent and Your Right to an Attorney
Unannounced FBI, DEA, IRS, OIG or other law enforcement agent visits to a target or subject’s home or place of employment are a common tactic. This surprise factor catches you off-guard and is an effective law enforcement tool for gaining incriminating evidence. Do not be a victim of their tactics.
Federal and state law enforcement agents are specially trained in the art of interrogation and will try to make you feel scared, rude, or guilty for refusing to answer “a few questions.” They are masters of appealing to your vulnerability. That is why knowing your rights and enforcing them firmly and respectfully is crucial if the FBI, DEA, IRS, OIG or other law enforcement agents show up at your door. Even if you have a reasonable explanation or are completely innocent, your words will be turned against you, and you could find yourself facing federal criminal charges.
If federal agents come to your home, simply confirm your identity, tell them you want to speak to an attorney, and contact Hope Lefeber. Do not invite them in, and do not say anything else.
If the FBI or DEA agents have an arrest warrant or a search warrant, they will place you under arrest and/or search your home. However, you are under no obligation to speak to them, and you have a constitutional right to remain silent and to request a lawyer. When they do leave, you should immediately contact an attorney because there is a good chance that they will be back, except this time with a warrant.
Assume You Are the Target of an FBI, DEA or IRS Investigation
The FBI has jurisdiction over more than 200 categories of federal criminal offenses. Like putting together a puzzle, the FBI will compile hundreds of small details that they hope will add up to a conviction. But working with an experienced criminal defense attorney helps level the playing field and is essential to protecting your rights and your freedom.
When the FBI opens an investigation, they usually do most of the investigation behind the scenes. By the time you know you are the target of the investigation, it has already been underway for quite some time, and the FBI probably already has evidence against you. Anytime you speak to the FBI, you should assume that you are a target of the investigation. This is why it is crucial to ensure you have an attorney present during questioning.
Assume the Federal Agents Have More Information Than They Say
A federal agent is under no obligation to be completely forthcoming with you. Even if you are the target of the investigation, they may tell you they are just seeking information and that it will look bad if you decline a request for an interview or insist on having a lawyer present. However, this is simply a tactic to intimidate you into talking with them and making an incriminating statement that will later be used to try to convict you.
Remember, law enforcement agents almost always know more than they are telling you. Agents may have already reviewed your bank accounts and financial records and spoken with other witnesses. They have almost certainly already formed an opinion about your involvement in a crime.
Protect your rights by asserting your right to remain silent and insisting that you have an attorney present. Even if you are concerned that requesting an attorney may cause the agents to believe you are guilty, an attorney will help protect your rights. However, once you speak to the agents without a lawyer present, it may be extremely difficult to reverse the harm that has been caused. A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
If you receive a visit from law enforcement agents, having a lawyer present could mean the difference between freedom and years in prison.
When the law enforcement agents come to visit, it usually means they have evidence against you and want to validate their suspicions. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights, prevent you from saying something that could be used to convict you of a crime, or even negotiate with law enforcement so you receive something in exchange for answering their questions.
Remember, you have no obligation to speak with federal or local law enforcement agents. In fact, you have a constitutional right to remain silent. But when faced with the intimidating presence of federal or local agents at your door, it is all too easy to let your rights go by the wayside and say something that you will regret.
Protect Yourself During an FBI, IRS, DEA or OIG Investigation
There are few things as serious as a criminal investigation. If there are federal agents outside your house, assume that you are a target of the investigation and that your livelihood and your freedom are on the line.
Do not discuss the case with anyone else. Do not post anything about the case or the visit on social media, and refrain from posting anything about luxury items, vacations, or large amounts of cash. In fact, if you believe you are the target of an FBI, DEA, IRS or OIG investigation, you should stop posting on social media altogether.
Do not alter or destroy evidence. By the time you learn you are under investigation, the agents already know what evidence exists. If you alter or destroy evidence, federal agents may be able to reconstruct the evidence or obtain it from another source. If they can determine that you destroyed evidence, it will not only make you look guilty, but it can also give rise to additional criminal charges.
The federal government has a massive amount of resources and highly skilled investigators that it will use to try to convict you of a crime. Level the playing field by working with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and defend you against federal criminal charges.
Contact Hope Lefeber for Aggressive Federal Criminal Defense
Hope Lefeber has earned a reputation as a fierce and tenacious defender of her clients’ rights. She is meticulously prepared and has a deep and thorough knowledge of federal criminal law.
Ms. Lefeber has more than 30 years of experience defending people accused of crimes in federal court. She has defended high-profile clients including executives at Fortune 500 Companies, businessmen and women, doctors, lawyers, professors, healthcare professionals, and other people who have been charged with crimes in federal court.
Put her experience to work for you and contact Ms. Lefeber today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case and how she can help.