If you are charged with a federal offense, you face a difficult legal battle that will best be handled with the help of an experienced federal criminal lawyer. Further, if you are placed in jail following an investigation, there are certain considerations to take in order to protect your family and your assets while you are away, and a skilled defense attorney will best be able to help and explain those considerations.
When a person is arrested as part of a federal investigation, federal agents may seek to interview or subpoena members of the person’s family to a grand jury. It is important for people to understand that there is no obligation to speak or not speak to any law enforcement agent. Everyone in the United States has the absolute right when confronted by a police officer or agent who asks them a question, to politely decline to answer the question.
A subpoena is a legal document that, when served properly, can lead to the person being arrested if they do not show up at a grand jury proceeding. When someone is subpoenaed to a grand jury proceeding, they should consult with an attorney. That attorney may contact the prosecutor or the agents who issued the subpoena and seek to have that subpoena eventually terminated.
It is important that when agents seek to interview the family members of the person who has been charged, they should think carefully about whether they want to speak to agents. It is their absolute right to not do so.
Whether or not someone is in jail, there are things that can be done prior to protect their assets from being searched. When someone thinks they are under investigation for a crime, they should maintain a backup of their electronic devices.
It makes sense for them to maintain copies of their electronic devices whether they are under investigation or not. It is even more important when they think they are being investigated because they want to be able to keep their business and personal life going if their items are seized.
Unfortunately, when the government confiscates a hard drive to search and copy it, the hard drive is often returned containing a virus. While that is usually unintentional on the part of government and is more an issue of the poor quality of the government computer equipment, it does happen. An individual’s drive can be returned in a corrupt state where it is infected with a virus, which is all the more reason to maintain copies.
It is important if an individual is in jail, to understand that any communication they make from jail is recorded, with rare exceptions. Every phone call, email, and video chat is recorded. It is critical that an individual does not discuss their case in any form when using those devices. Everything is recorded and can be used against them. This is one of the best ways for an individual to protect themselves when in jail, and thus protecting their family and their assets.
Sometimes recorded conversations, whether they are intended to be recorded or not, lead the government to find that they have probable cause to search someplace that they may have forgotten. It is very important that an individual does not speak in any way about anything related to their case on the phone, over video, or in emails. That is one way an individual can prevent other things or locations from being searched.
To prevent assets such as vehicles, houses, and homes from being seized, searched, frozen, and taken over by the government, you should hire a lawyer who has experience in dealing with the courts for these matters. Each federal district can be different; each federal circuit is different in how forfeiture is handled. A person should hire an attorney with experience dealing with forfeiture matters in that particular district or circuit because the rules tend to be very complex. Litigation can become very complicated.
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