We’ll wrap up our two-part article by discussing what you shouldn’t do when under a federal investigation, how to handle an encounter with an officer, and why it’s important to retain legal counsel. Read part one for the beginning of the article.
You may be ready to prove your innocence but it isn’t wise to speak or write to anyone during a federal investigation. Anyone you communicate with can be subpoenaed to testify against you in court. Beyond this, don’t do the following:
It’s a crime to destroy any investigation-related evidence. In this day and age, it’s fairly easy for investigators to retrieve electronic evidence even if it was deleted or modified. If you want to avoid obstruction of justice charges do not tamper with evidence.
No matter what, when questioned, tell the truth. If during the course of a criminal investigation you’re accused of making false statements or representations to a federal agent, police officer, judge, or jury, you can be prosecuted and sent to prison and fined. To avoid any misinterpretation and to protect yourself, you can request to have your interview recorded.
Our American criminal justice system is adversarial in nature, therefore, it’s important to interact with law enforcement properly. You aren’t required to answer questions, but you must ensure that you’re polite when reiterating your right to decline to answer their questions or consent to a search. If the agent is aggressive and forces their way, refrain from physically challenging them. Again, state your rights, and allow your attorney to challenge their behavior in court. You aren’t under any obligation to return calls or meet them upon their request. Even if you’ve been read your Miranda Rights, don’t speak with them unless you’ve consulted a criminal defense attorney in Tampa.
It’s beneficial to retain a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa for several reasons including lessening your chances of being arrested and formally charged or having your charges reduced. Additionally, a lawyer can help to minimize evidence against you during a trial and can ensure that, if they have a warrant, you can turn yourself in instead of having law enforcement bombard your home or work to arrest you.