When a federal agent contacts you, it is important to know your rights under the constitutional amendment. Having an agent show up at your doorstep can be intimidating, but by knowing your rights, and knowing what steps you should take after being contacted by a federal agent, you can protect yourself.
1. Be Polite.
If a federal agent shows up at your home or work or calls you, it is normal to feel rattled, but it’s important to be as polite as possible and remain cooperative, yet aware throughout the process. While you are not required to answer any questions that an agent has, it is important to remain polite and cordial. Acting defensive, angry, and violent will only harm your case.
2. Remain Silent.
All citizens have the constitutional right to remain silent if questioned by an agent and to request an attorney. Any information given to an agent, aside from your name and date of birth, can and will be used against you. No matter how intimidating an agent or agents may seem, it is not a crime to refuse to answer their questions. We like to tell clients, “imagine yourself as a statue.” While you must give a federal agent your ID, which includes your name, address, and date of birth, you have the constitutional right to remain silent.
3. Be Aware of Your Body Language.
Take note of your body language. You should remain as cool, calm, and collected as possible. With even the slightest defensive act or movement, this could raise their suspicions of you. Something you need to keep in mind is that the agent cannot hear what is going on in your head, but they can make assumptions based on your body language and mannerisms during the investigation.
4. Collect As Much Information As You Can.
Most federal agents will provide you with their contact information immediately if they want to talk to you. However, if they do not give you their contact information, it is important to ask for it. You should collect the agent’s name, number, and the name of the agency they are with. Otherwise, the process of your case may be delayed while your attorney determines which federal agency is investigating you, which agent contacted you, and what type of investigation you are suspect in.
5. Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney.
If a federal agent contacts you, the first thing you need to do when they leave or hang up the phone is contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. An attorney can further explain your rights based on the circumstances of your situation and help you navigate the criminal justice process while protecting your best interests throughout the case.
If you have been contacted by a federal agent, you should speak to our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. Our criminal defense lawyers at Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP have over 100 years of combined experience in handling a wide range of cases in Missouri, Illinois, and across the nation, and can help achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP for a free consultation.