If you receive a letter from a federal prosecutor that says you are the target of a grand jury investigation, then you’ve received what’s called a target letter, and generally, it will read like this.
What Is a “Target”?
In a federal criminal investigation, people are put into three different categories: witness, subject and target. If you’re a target, law enforcement agents and the prosecutor believe you did something illegal. This means that the investigation is looking into you.
On the other hand, we have a subject. A subject means that federal investigators think that something illegal happened, and you may know something about it, but they aren’t necessarily trying to prosecute that person.
With that said, being a target is one of the worst places to be in an investigation.
What To Do if You Receive a Target Letter
A target letter almost always asks you to do something. Some common instances are meeting with the Assistant United States Attorney Investigating the Case, voluntarily testifying before the grand jury, and asking you to have your lawyer call the prosecutor involved with the investigation.
Regardless of what the letter asks you to do, the absolute most important thing to do is to hire a lawyer and have them reach out to the prosecutor. It may be tempting to reach out to the prosecutor to discuss why you are a target, but anything you say from that point on can be used against you. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer will ensure your rights are protected and you are moving forward in the smartest way possible.
Hiring a Lawyer
Certainly, telling you to hire a lawyer is probably obvious and not terribly helpful, but it is especially necessary if you are under federal investigation. Further, if you are reading this, you may already be in the process of hiring a lawyer. When hiring a lawyer, it is important you hire a top federal defense lawyer. You can also get a head start on the process if you are aware of the common signs that you may be under federal investigation.
What Happens Next?
Once you have hired a lawyer, the AUSA will give your lawyer some information about the charges that are being brought against you. Here, you and your lawyer can discuss what they have, talk about how likely it is that you’ll be convicted if the case goes to trial, and see what the government’s offering. From there you can decide how you want to move forward – whether you plead guilty or not. If you choose not to plead guilty, the government will likely bring charges.
If the government is not locked in on prosecuting you, your lawyer has some room to maneuver and prepare a presentation for the prosecutor on why you should not be prosecuted.
Lastly, sometimes a prosecutor may be reassigned to another case, and the case agent may decide not to move forward. This is pretty unlikely, especially if the government has already put a lot of work into the investigation.
If you or your loved one have received a target letter…
it is extremely important that you retain counsel immediately. You may want to try to handle this on your own, or think that this is not as serious as a trial would be. Make sure your rights under the law are respected by hiring an experienced federal criminal defense attorney like the lawyers of the Premier Federal Criminal Defenders. Call today for a free consultation.