Maryland Federal Investigations
Due to the severity of federal charges, it is imperative that if you are accused of a crime, to consult with a Maryland federal criminal lawyer as soon as you believe you may be under investigation to discuss your case and begin planning your defense. To learn more about federal investigations, call and schedule a consultation.
What to Look For in An Attorney
A person will want to look for an attorney who is knowledgeable, experienced, and very hardworking. Success with these types of cases is directly related to the amount of work put in. Extensive preparation is an absolute requirement for these cases. A person will want an attorney who is familiar with the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the facts of the case play into them.
Agencies Involved in Federal Investigations
Federal investigations are conducted by either federal law enforcement officers or federal law enforcement officers in conjunction with state law enforcement officers. Sometimes these officers will have task forces that work together on a long-term investigation. Additionally, there are law enforcement arms of various agencies, and agencies like the DEA, ATF, FBI, Department of Labor, and Department of Homeland Security, which typically investigate federal crimes.
Tools and Tactics Involved in Federal Investigations
Typically, the trend for white-collar cases is for law enforcement to use tactics like:
- People under investigation who start cooperating with the government
- Subpoenaing documents
- Obtaining records
- Looking at electronic evidence including social media
Length of a Federal Investigation
In general federal investigations can sometimes take years to complete. With that said, this can actually help the defense because it gives the defendant and their attorney more time to prepare. The last thing a person wants is for a defense attorney to rush into a case.
Information the Government Searches For
During the investigation, the government will often try to subpoena a person’s bank records or other financial records, such as invoices. If it is a company, the government will want to look at financial information like QuickBooks account invoices. If the government believes that items have been purchased using ill-gotten funds, they will subpoena the records of these purchases. For example if the purchase in question is of a car, they will check the records of purchase, the title, and so on, all in an effort to get back to the source of illegal money or money made illegally.
The government will also try to get access to a person or company’s tech equipment including computers and hard drives.
Limiting Government Access to Information
If there are subpoenas issued, a person will file what is called a motion to quash the subpoena based upon a variety of potential arguments depending on the facts of a particular case.
To file a motion to quash a subpoena, it is helpful to have a copy of the subpoena so a person can see what is being requested. Normally, a defense attorney will contact the prosecutor and say that they have a copy of the subpoena and request their justifications for it. Then a criminal lawyer will file a motion to show why the prosecutor’s justification does not hold up and why the judge should not uphold the subpoena.
Legal Searches While in Custody
If law enforcement agents obtain a search warrant while a person is in jail, then it is legal for them to conduct a search. However, if law enforcement does not have a search warrant, even if a person is in jail, they cannot just search their residence. It is important to have a criminal defense lawyer review the conditions of a search to ensure that a persons’ constitutional rights have not been violated.
Steps to Take After Learning of an Investigation
The most important steps a person should take after learning of an investigation is to call an attorney and to not talk to anybody. Many people charged with federal crimes aid the government unwittingly when they start talking to people and proclaiming their innocence.
This can happen because the person gives law enforcement information that is ultimately used to hurt them, they talk about something without having full recollection of it at that moment, and make statements that later become contradictory when they remember what actually happened. That contradiction is later used against them. The best thing a person can do is call a lawyer and not talk to anybody.
If a company is involved, they will want to issue a preservation order. This is an order that requires that no evidence, documents, or anything can be destroyed or altered. A person will then want to push to do their own investigation of the facts of the case.