If an FBI or other Federal Agent makes contact with you in person, by phone, or by a target letter you should contact an attorney that specializes in Federal criminal defense immediately. Do not speak to the agent before speaking to a Federal criminal defense attorney first. Many people commonly make the mistake of speaking to Federal agents in the beginning without an attorney. It is common for people to think that they haven’t done anything wrong or that since they aren’t being arrested, it is alright to speak to the agent. The agent often is very cordial and may not sound like they are investigating you. They may appear to sound as if they are only looking for information. The problem is the information they are seeking is part of a a Federal investigation which very likely involves criminal conduct which they believe you are involved in.
If you are contacted by an FBI Agent you can rest assured there is at the very least an FBI investigation. There may not be a Federal Grand Jury investigation yet, but you need to contact a Federal criminal defense attorney to find out if there is. Your attorney can find out at what stage the investigation is in. The attorney can also find out whether you are a “target” of the investigation or only a “witness”. The attorney can review documents that the FBI wants or that may be under subpoena before you turn them over. The attorney can evaluate how you will explain the documents. The attorney can evaluate the situation to determine whether it is in your best interests to speak to the agent.
Often times, it is in your best interests to speak to the agent, with an attorney present, if there is considerable evidence against you, if and only if, you are afforded the protections of immunity from prosecution based on your statements to them. Frequently, the agent does not have sufficient information to bring the case to the United States Attorney and is attempting to speak to you to get that information. A Federal criminal defense attorney will likely tell you not to speak to the agent if it is determined that there is very little evidence against you. Never speak to a Federal agent by yourself. Always contact an experienced Federal criminal lawyer.