Federal investigations are quite literally legal investigations performed by the federal government. These are often more serious than investigations done at the state or local level, and can come about because of:
Before you speak with any agents, prosecutors, or respond to a subpoena it is imperative that you speak to a lawyer and learn your legal rights. If you are being investigated by the federal government, get a free consultation from Houston federal investigations attorney James Alston right away.
What is My ‘Status’ in a Federal Investigation?
If you are under federal investigation it is very important to understand your status. All individuals under investigation are placed into one of three possible categories:
- Target: An individual with at least a 50 percent probability of being charged with a crime. For most intents and purposes, when a person has been labeled a target, the prosecutor of the case has already deemed that person guilty, and is actively looking for the evidence to indict him or her.
- Witness: A person who is not (yet) suspected of any crime, but rather is thought to have information that may be of interest to a grand jury.
- Subject: A categorization that falls somewhere between that of a target and a witness. A subject is suspected of conduct that has been deemed suspicious or unethical, but it is not currently clear whether it can be proven that the person has committed a crime. This is a state that usually warrants further investigation before reclassification.
It should be noted that these categories are merely administrative and offer no protection in and of themselves. A witness or subject status can be changed without notice. Accordingly, do not allow yourself to be tricked into admitting or denying something if told you are “merely” a witness.
How Does a Federal Investigation Proceed?
Before a subpoena arrives, federal agents will often show up at your house asking questions. It is vital that you understand that the investigators’ true goal is nearly always to collect evidence against you during this questioning, regardless of what they may say. Federal agents are highly adept at getting you to make statements that can later hurt you; they will typically try to get you to admit improper conduct or to (falsely) deny improper conduct.
Call Houston Lawyer James Alston
Usually, the best way to handle a federal investigation is to courteously (but firmly) inform any agents that you have a federal investigations attorney or that you are in the process of hiring one, and that before you speak with your legal counsel, you will be unable to answer any questions. Above all else: protect your rights! If you are being investigated by the federal government, get in touch with the Law Office of James Alston.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free telephone consultation at (713) 228-1400