When You Need a Federal Defense Attorney
There's a knock at your door, or maybe the phone rings or perhaps a friend mentions to you that he was visited by the FBI or other federal law enforcement agents. And your friend tells you that during what at first seemed like a benign conversation your name came up. Or when you answer the door or phone, you're informed that a federal agent would like to speak with you to ask you some questions.
Perhaps you're perplexed by the visit or maybe you have an idea why they're making contact but no matter what the case is, it's probably time to seek counsel from a Fort Lauderdale attorney that's adept in federal law.
When a federal investigation is in progress and you find yourself involved, the question you should contemplate is are they seeking your help as a witness or could you be a target of their investigation.
A federal investigation is usually not a hurried process. Unlike an investigation by the state, a federal agency usually has a longer time-frame to explore crimes committed that fall under federal jurisdiction. This would include most federal crimes except when human life may be at stake or are in imminent danger (Public Safety Exemption). With the full backing of the federal government they also have more resources than a state prosecutor's office would have available.
Although being questioned by federal authorities may be more intimidating to some people in comparison to that of local or state law enforcement, they are still governed by the same edicts and considerations as any police agency.
They are free to ask you questions regarding their investigation but without knowing exactly what the investigation is about, you should be very careful how they're answered.
In many cases, a federal investigator will ask questions that if answered may hurt you at a later time and possibly be setting you up if they're privy to information that you believe they can't possibly possess. You should also be aware that lying to a federal agent is a crime that can be punished with significant jail time and/or fines. Making false statements to a federal agent can be pursued as a crime if responses that were given to their questions turn out to be untrue even before an arrest took place during the course of their investigation. You should also know that if there is an arrest, they are subject to reading the Miranda rights before a person is taken into custody.
For these reasons alone, if you become aware that you, a friend or relative is the focus of a federal investigation, proper counsel should be retained at the earliest possible moment.
Even if you're not the object of the investigation, an attorney with extensive experience in federal criminal law should be present to act as your advocate and appear as a go-between during any questioning by federal agents. An experienced lawyer who practices federal defense will most likely be able to bring to light why you've been sought while advising you of your rights including the use of the Fifth Amendment.
There is a vast difference when hiring a criminal defense attorney when an investigation is underway or an arrest has taken place in a federal criminal case. Although there are numerous excellent criminal defense lawyers in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, only a fraction of them are well-practiced in federal law. An attorney either knows federal criminal law, or they don't. My law firm specializes in all matters relating to the federal system and offers the needed expertise if a situation involving federal charges is involved.
When a federal criminal investigation has been initiated or federal criminal proceedings are underway it is essential to acquire representation by an attorney who is accustomed to the federal rules of criminal procedure, federal rules of evidence, federal trial procedure, and a broad knowledge of the workings of the federal courts as well as federal sentencing procedures and guidelines which are continually amended through Supreme Court rulings which can affect a client's ultimate sentencing.
I maintain an ongoing familiarity with the federal investigative agencies that organize and lead federal investigations as well as a long term relationship with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida which handles all cases in the tri-county area. I also previously worked as an Assistant United States Attorney earlier in my career before I began my private practice.
If you or a person who is important to you believes a federal investigation has been initiated or you or someone you care about has been arrested for any federal crime, call my office in Fort Lauderdale to set up a consultation to discuss the defenses available and plan a strong rebuttal to any federal charges brought forward by the government.