If you receive a target letter from the Department of Justice or one of their agencies telling you that you are the target of an investigation, the steps you take next will most likely determine your future. Attorney Bill Finn, a federal lawyer in Raleigh from Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh is sharing exactly what you need to do when you get a target letter.
What Is a Target Letter
First, let’s look at exactly what a target letter is. This is a written document meant to inform you that an agent from a federal agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), believes you have committed a crime. It’s important to be aware that this letter does not mean you have been charged nor are you under arrest. However, an arrest or charge may be coming in the future.
Often, your target letter will tell you the next step you need to take, whether it’s meeting with the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to investigate your case or testifying before a grand jury. Sometimes, the letter will request that your federal lawyer call the prosecuting attorney.
What Is Included in a Target Letter
When you receive a target letter, it is most likely short with only the most pertinent and important information included:
- The alleged crime that has been committed;
- The federal statutes allegedly violated;
- Your Constitutional Rights;
- Deadlines or dates along with the action required.
What to Do After Receiving a Target Letter
Now that you know what a target letter is, it’s important to know what steps to take next.
Hire a Federal Lawyer
Even though you haven’t been charged yet, the first thing you need to do is hire a federal lawyer. They can begin investigating your case, preparing a defense, and walking you through the steps you need to take to secure a more favorable outcome, plus they’ll be able to answer the questions you have with experience and knowledge. Not all lawyers are permitted to represent clients in federal court, so it’s important to make that distinction when you’re narrowing the list.
Whether this target letter came as a complete shock or you knew it was coming, it’s natural to panic when you’re told you’re under investigation by the Department of Justice. However, you do not want to delete electronic files, destroy paper records, or leave town as this could lead to additional criminal charges and harm your case.
Don’t Talk to Others About Your Case
The only person you should talk to about your case is your lawyer as those conversations are confidential. Telling family and friends, whether in person, over the phone, or via text or email about your case may lead to the prosecuting attorney bringing them in for questioning or even subpoenaing them to testify against you in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Federal Lawyer
If you have received a target letter to meet with a U.S. Attorney or testify before a grand jury and need a federal lawyer to represent you in the Eastern District of North Carolina, we can help. Attorney Bill Finn has the experience and knowledge to navigate all types of federal cases and is dedicated to advocating for his clients and building strong defense strategies. Schedule a free consultation today at (919) 887-8040 or fill out the form below to get the legal representation you need today.