On February 11, 2020

4 Things to Do Immediately When You’re Charged with a Federal Crime

handcuff and a gavel

Being charged with a crime is never fun, but while most people are familiar with charges from a local police department, few people understand the process when you are charged with a federal crime. These crimes are extremely serious, and the federal government has a lot of resources to pursue criminals, so it’s critical that you know what to do if you ever face a federal criminal charge. Here are four things to do immediately.

1: Call an Attorney

Attorneys who handle federal cases know the laws and your rights and can advise you on the best strategy for facing the charges. They can also help you counter a federal investigation that may turn up unfair or inaccurate information. Because the federal government has so many resources, it’s critical that you have someone fighting on your side.

2: Don’t Say Anything

People often want to be helpful and cooperate when law enforcement knocks on the door. Many will talk to federal law enforcement agents even if they know they are potentially facing a serious criminal charge. This is a bad idea and could have long-term negative consequences for your case. Even if you are not guilty of the crime and think you have nothing to hide, it’s very important that you remain silent until your attorney is present.

3: Understand Your Rights

You are never required to answer questions from any law enforcement officer, including the FBI and you always have the right to remain silent. Even if you did answer some questions, you can stop at any time and ask for an attorney, and once you do they cannot continue to question you. One of federal law enforcement’s most-used tools is to trip you up with questions and then charge you with lying to a federal officer, or try to intimidate you into making a statement and taking a plea bargain.

If they arrive at your house with a warrant, you must comply with it and any instructions they give, but do not answer any questions or say anything during the process. Call an attorney immediately.

4: Avoid Talking About the Case

Many cases begin with law enforcement launching an investigation. Federal cases are no different, but federal law enforcement has a lot of resources at their disposal to investigate you. You’re not paranoid if you think that federal law enforcement might be monitoring your communications. In many cases they can get a warrant to monitor phone calls, texts, and other electronic communications even before you’re charged, but especially after. Even if your communications are not monitored, the people you talk to may be convinced to testify against you if they have information. When you face federal charges, do not talk about the case with anyone except your lawyer.

Call Brad R. Anderson Law Office immediately if you ever get charged with a federal crime, and have someone fighting on your side.