Do Federal Authorities Have To Inform Me What I Am Being Investigated For?
Federal agents have the authority to mislead you about why they want to talk to you. When they’re asking you probing questions of any criminal matter they are not doing it because they like you or simply want to know your thoughts. More than likely, they are there because you have been implicated in a criminal case. They may come to you in an extremely professional, non-threatening manner but it may be to convince you to talk or to implicate yourself. You are likely to become the best witness against yourself. All statements you make are going to be memorialized in report of investigations, maybe recorded and are likely going to be used against you.
If you decide to talk to them and throw them off by telling them things that may not be true, they can charge you with making false statements, which is a federal crime. Your best bet is to simply tell them you are going to invoke your right to remain silent and have an attorney present. Get the business cards or names and phone numbers of the agent or the agents. Oftentimes, when they get a call back from an attorney, it’s a totally different game. They can no longer talk to you once you’re represented. They must go through your attorney. The protection that an attorney provides you is invaluable.
What Happens After I Have Been Arrested And Charged With A Federal Crime?
You’re going to have an initial appearance. That’s where the magistrate advises you of your rights and of the charges made against you. Then, the Judge will set a preliminary and detention hearing. These hearings are very important. The preliminary hearing is to establish whether the federal law enforcement agency has probable cause to arrest. Although probable cause is a very low standard, going through the hearing is important for a good defense attorney. The detention hearing is to establish whether you are entitled to a bond. These are my opportunities, as a defense attorney, to cross-examine the case agent and get a more precise idea of the strengths and the weaknesses of the case. If I find gaps in the case, my client and I are going to be in a much better position. I’ve had cases where I’ve gotten the case dismissed at the preliminary hearing when the judge rules that there is no probable cause.
Then, they’ll take the case to a grand jury, which is composed of twenty three citizens. A grand jury permits the government attorneys to present a summary of the evidence they have or to have the agent testify to obtain a true bill. In other words, a finding of probable cause. So, one of the most important things we try to do is get our clients out on bond because the process will be lengthy. Then, we’ll have a series of hearings, get the discovery, and decide what strategy to pursue.
We will engage in negotiations with the U.S. attorney’s office. We may then file motions, such as motions to suppress. We’ll get to the point where we have a hearing with the federal district judge. At that time, we can ask for a pass for further negotiation and investigation. We’re entitled to a jury trial and we can do that or we can tell the judge that we would like to get a plea hearing.
Should I Try And Work With Federal Authorities? Will It Do Me Any Good?
Do not try to work with federal authorities without an attorney. If the case has reached the critical stage of being a file with a federal law enforcement agency, you’re simply not going to talk your way out of it. Going in and cooperating with them without the assistance of an attorney is going to deprive you of numerous rights that you need to invoke.
For more information on Federal Criminal Investigations In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (915) 260-4552 today.
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