A lot of people assume white collar crimes aren’t a big deal. After all, you aren’t physically harming anyone. Most of the time, nobody even knows what’s going on. But the federal government doesn’t look at it through the same lens. To them, white collar offenses absolutely deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Do you know how to respond?
How to Respond to White Collar Criminal Charges
If you’re believed to be involved with a white collar offense, you’ll most likely receive a target letter from a federal prosecutor. This letter will explain that you’re under federal investigation and inform you of your rights. While this is obviously frightening, it’s important that you don’t freeze up. From the moment you receive notice that you’re under federal investigation, you have to act.
Here are some of the things you should do:
- Find an Attorney
The very first step is to find an attorney who can help you fight your charges. A good attorney will sit down and hold a consultation with you – free of charge – and discuss your case in detail. They’ll ask you questions, provide options, and let you decide how to proceed without undue pressure. If you find an attorney who satisfies these criteria and makes you comfortable, consider partnering with them.
If you’ve already been convicted of a federal crime and you’re looking to find a new attorney to help you fight your charges, the same process applies – only you don’t have much time. As the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer note, you only have 14 days from sentencing to file a Notice of Appeal at District Court.
- Gather Evidence
The next step is to figure out what’s going on and help your legal team gather all evidence and information that could be relevant to your case. This may include emails, documents, pictures, video, private conversations, letters, etc. Even if there’s evidence out there that doesn’t make you look good, you need it. Not only do you need information that supports you, but you need to know what the prosecution is going to use against you.
- Let Your Attorney Do the Talking
From the moment you learn that you’re under federal investigation, your lips should be sealed. The only person you should talk about the case with is your attorney. If you’re being directly contacted by prosecutors and investigators, don’t say a word.
“Your lawyer should reach out to the agent or the prosecutor who is working on the case,” KaiserDillon explains. “That way, your lawyer can learn what’s going on with the government’s investigation, and the government should know that you’re represented by a lawyer. The agent should then talk to your lawyer instead of you.”
- Talk to a Therapist
Facing a federal criminal charge isn’t something most people take lightly. From an emotional point of view, you probably need to meet with a therapist to discuss the stress, anxiety, and fears you’re working through.
Your conversations with a therapist – so long as they happen in a formal session – are privileged. This means the details of your case that you discuss with your therapist can’t be divulged in court. As such, this is a great opportunity to get some stuff off your chest and talk through your feelings in a safe environment.
Move as Fast as Possible
Federal investigations typically get bogged down and can take months or years to play out, but don’t let this impact your response. You and your legal team will need every possible second to prepare your case and ensure a proper resolution.
The faster you move on the front end, the better off you’ll likely be on the backside.