If you have been contacted by an agent from a Federal agency tasked with investigating criminal activity, such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of investigation); the Secret Service; the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency); the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), you may be the target of a Federal investigation.
The first thing that you should do when contacted by a Federal investigative agency is to contact a Federal criminal defense lawyer. At Banwo & Igbokwe Law our aggressive Federal criminal defense attorneys have the savvy and experience you need to protect your rights and fight effectively for your freedom.
Unlike State prosecutions where local law enforcement agencies may have limited budgets and resources, the Federal government has veritably unlimited resources at their disposal. Cases in the Federal system receive far greater attention than State cases and they move through the system at breakneck speed.
Moreover, US Attorneys are frequently better educated and more experienced than their State counterparts.
And finally, the Federal government rarely brings a case unless they have confidence in their ability to win. These factors combine to make defending Federal crimes effectively an exceptionally demanding task.
The Federal system itself functions differently from the State system. To start with, only certain types of crimes are prosecuted in the Federal system.
Some of those crimes, like R.I.C.O. (Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organization Act) are entirely unique to the Federal system while others are simply prosecuted federally because the crime was committed across state lines or because it involved a violation of both State and Federal law but the U.S. Attorney’s Office deemed it worthy of federal prosecution.
Unlike State criminal prosecutions, in which suspects are rarely notified that they are the target of an investigation, in federal prosecutions, suspects frequently receive so-called “target” letters notifying them that they are the subject of an investigation.
Criminal complaints and indictments also signify the beginning of a Federal Criminal Prosecution. Once you have received notice that you are the target of a Federal Investigation, you should seek counsel immediately.
In fact, if at some point you are made aware that you are the target of an investigation, whether by law enforcement executing a search warrant or as the result of being contacted by federal agents, you should immediately seek counsel.
Advice received from a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense attorney before responding to law enforcement requests for information will almost certainly rank as the most valuable legal advice you will ever receive.
Many of the most devastating mistakes made by people who are the focus of an investigation occur early on, while they still feel that if they simply explained their conduct that potential criminal charges will be prevented.
The hard truth is that with every word spoken, folks tend to betray their own interests when speaking with law enforcement. There is simply no substitute for solid legal counsel at a very early stage, before any damage is done.
Remember, law enforcement officers, including the FBI, are not only permitted to deceive you to cause you to make harmful statements, they are actually trained to do it extremely effectively. Do not imagine for a moment that direct interaction with federal law enforcement will be to your advantage.
Reach out to find out more about our services or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys.