Witnesses That Cooperate With A Federal Investigation Could Become A Target
As a witness to a federal criminal investigation, the biggest concern is to make sure that the spotlight does not turn onto you. I founded Law Offices of Peter Katz, with offices in New York and New Jersey, after serving as a federal criminal prosecutor. With more than 29 years of experience in the criminal court system, I advise clients throughout New York and New Jersey with respect to their rights as a witness during a criminal investigation.
Reasons A Federal Investigator Might Want To Talk To You
There are a number of investigatory agencies that investigate federal criminal activity. One of the most well known is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but any of the investigative agents could ask to talk to you depending on the facts and circumstances of their investigation and what they are investigating. There are a number of reasons a federal agent might want to talk to you, including:
- You are a potential witness who has information that is relevant to their investigation
- You are a person of interest in their investigation, but they don’t have enough evidence to charge you with a crime
- You are a key subject in a case they are investigating and upon further information, your prior actions could bring you within the scope of a grand jury inquiry that could lead to an indictment
- You are a target of their investigation and there is enough evidence linking you to a crime
If there is a warrant out for your arrest, the agents will also want to talk to you and you will already know that you are a target of the investigation. In addition, according to the federal criminal court procedures, you will also know that they have enough evidence against you to meet the threshold of probable cause to already have an indictment or a warrant.
What Does It Mean To Be A Witness?
When investigators believe that you might be a witness in their investigation, it usually means that you might have information that could prove the guilt or innocence of a person or company that they believe is involved in something suspicious. Even if you are just a witness, you have the right to remain silent.
You also have the right to have an attorney present during any questions or interviews. If you do choose to speak with investigators, it is important to remember that anything you say could potentially be used against you. For this reason, it is always a good idea to exercise your right to have an attorney present during any sort of interview. You also have the right to refuse an interview. However, in the event that you are served with a subpoena, you will be required to appear in court or before a grand jury to answer questions.
Obstruction Of Justice
While you do not have to speak to federal investigators, if they believe that you have information and you are refusing to cooperate with their investigation, they have the ability to charge you with obstruction of justice. In addition, if you choose to talk to investigators during an investigation and they believe that you are not being truthful or that you’ve provided misleading information, you could also be charged with making a false statement to an investigator. If you have any concerns, you should speak with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
Are You Involved In An Investigation? Contact A Defense Attorney Today.
If you have concerns that you are somehow involved in a criminal federal investigation, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights. I offer free, confidential initial consultation appointments. To schedule your free appointment, you can call my office at 609-900-2648 or send me an email through my online form.