Facing any kind of criminal charge can make someone worry about their future, but federal charges tend to be among the most intimidating. Individuals who learn that they are under federal investigation may panic and fail to take the appropriate steps necessary for their own protection.
It is often mistakes that people make during the investigation that end up complicating their legal situation and leading to criminal penalties like incarceration. Those who discover that federal authorities have begun looking into their personal or professional activities may want to take certain steps to protect themselves.
Legal support is of the utmost importance
The average person will have a very hard time making sense of federal criminal statutes, which means they will be at a disadvantage to respond to allegations that they violated the law in some significant way. Those facing accusations of fraud, money laundering or criminal conspiracy may have investigators show up at their place of employment or knock on their front door.
As soon as they learn about the investigation, they will typically benefit from consulting with an attorney. Lawyers familiar with federal criminal cases can help someone understand their options and can warn people about common mistakes that might affect their options later.
Avoiding lies in actual conversations is crucial
Criminal investigations often involve interviews or lengthy conversations between the subject of the investigation and the professionals working for the federal agency looking at their circumstances. Even the tiniest of lies during such conversations can end up leading to criminal charges.
Small omissions, factual errors and even seemingly insignificant lies can lead to criminal prosecution. Lying to federal investigators in any capacity is an offense on its own, and the government will prosecute for alleged offenses when they can’t substantiate other claims against people.
People must know and use their rights
The right to remain silent and the right to an attorney are both among some of the most valuable protections for those navigating a federal investigation. One of the early conversations an individual needs to have with an attorney when subject to an investigation will focus on their rights and civil liberties.
Knowing when the police can search in different situations can help people advocate for themselves during an encounter. Those that understand the rules for investigations and criminal evidence could have an easier time planning a defense strategy if they eventually face charges. Taking action soon after learning about a federal investigation may benefit those who might eventually find themselves facing federal criminal charges.