New York Government Investigations Lawyers
When a government agency targets you in an investigation, it’s natural to feel anxious and worried. It’s incredibly threatening to find yourself the focus of the DEA, FBI or IRS, and you may feel like the only possible outcome is the worst case scenario. Since the United States government is such a huge and powerful entity, you probably feel powerless. When you’re not thinking clearly and are nervous, it’s easy to forget that you’re not entirely at the whim of the government.
The first thing to know is that government agencies and investigators know that you feel scared and overpowered. They’re counting on it, expecting you to do exactly what they say you need to do without giving it a second though. While you may have to agree to their terms eventually, depending on the specifics of the case, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side to guide you through the process. You probably don’t even know the constitutional rights you’re entitled to that could protect you. A government investigations lawyer can held you understand your rights. Secure a lawyer immediately, and before you communicate with the investigator.
Finding Out You’re Under Investigation
It’s never a pleasant experience to find out you’re under investigation by the U.S. government. Investigators opt to contact you in ways that will leave you psychologically unarmed, when you’re surprised and confused, not knowing how to handle the situation. They’ll try to get in touch with you or approach you when they know you don’t have your lawyer present, like at your job or at your home. Their goal is to question you without a lawyer present. When this happens, it’s in your best interest to not say anything to the investigators until your lawyer can be present.
Sometimes, you’re alerted to an investigation through a subpoena or a letter. The subpoena may say that you have to turn over documents to the investigators. No matter what type of letter you get or what the investigators say, you should never say or do anything without first speaking to a lawyer.
If you know that you’re under investigation by the government, be ready for an early morning search. This is a very common tactic done by government investigators. You may get a knock on your door and be shown a search warrant, or they may enter on their own using a battering ram. The point of the search will be to find photos, records, documents and anything else that will help them win their case. Additionally, the agents will likely have a list of questions to ask you or your family members, with the goal of getting information out of you when you’re vulnerable and intimidated.
Whether or Not to Cooperate
Abrupt and intimidating contact by government investigators can make you feel like you absolutely have to cooperate. However, knowing your rights in these situations can help you quell some anxiety and also protect you. Don’t make it easy on the investigators. Instead, stay silent, and ask your family members to do the same – you are not legally obligated to answer their questions. Ask for a search warrant return, which is a list of everything that has been seized. Also, contact your attorney right away.
Crimes and Penalties
There are all sorts of crimes that the government investigates, but the penalties same to be about the same from crime to crime. Common crimes investigated by the government include:
• Drug trafficking
• Corruption and bribery
• Identity theft
Common penalties include fines or prison time, or sometimes both. If you don’t have a criminal record or you’ve only had one minor conviction in the past, it’s likely that you’ll get an “easier” punishment, like a short prison sentence or probation. If the court is hard on you, though, you could be given the maximum prison sentence to be served in a medium- or maximum-security prison. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be facing deportation. Also, people who are convicted of these types of crimes often find it difficult to secure employment.
Government Investigation Attorneys
If you’re the target of a government investigation, it’s absolutely necessary ¬– for your sake and the sake of your family – to hire an experienced government investigation lawyer. This is your best chance at getting the lightest punishment possible. Be honest with your attorney so that they can present your case the best way possible.