What are my rights during a federal investigation?

If you are under investigation by a federal law enforcement agency, it is essential that you know your rights and have the support you need.

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How to Avoid Federal Prosecution

Navigating the complexities of a federal investigation can be daunting. Understanding your rights and the legal process is crucial in protecting yourself and ensuring the best possible outcome during a federal investigation. Here, we break down the essential aspects of federal investigations, your rights, and practical steps to take if you find yourself under federal scrutiny. You might be able to avoid a federal prosecution or conviction with the early and proactive intervention by an experienced, respected federal defense attorney.

What is a Federal Investigation?

Federal crimes are actions deemed illegal by United States federal legislation, such as credit card fraud, identity theft, mail fraud, bank robbery, hate crimes, kidnapping, and tax evasion. These offenses often carry severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Understanding the nature of these crimes and the jurisdictional boundaries can help you better prepare for the legal challenges ahead.

Federal investigations are typically conducted by agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal investigations differ significantly from state investigations as federal agencies often have more extensive resources, including specialized units for cybercrime, counterterrorism, and forensic analysis. They also may have access to national databases and intelligence networks.

Your Rights During a Federal Investigation

When under federal investigation, it’s vital to know and exercise your constitutional rights:

  • Protection Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unwarranted searches. Ensure that any search conducted by federal agents is legally sanctioned with a proper warrant.
  • Right to Remain Silent: The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. You are not required to answer questions or make statements to federal agents without your attorney present.
  • Right to an Attorney: The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to legal counsel. Having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Steps in a Federal Investigation

Federal investigations typically follow a structured process:

  1. Initial Inquiry: This is the preliminary stage where federal law enforcement agencies gather evidence to determine if a broader investigation is warranted.
  2. Investigation: A federal investigation can be extensive and take months, sometimes years, to complete.
  3. Subpoena and Grand Jury: A grand jury may be convened to review evidence and decide whether to indict.
  4. Indictment: An indictment is issued if the grand jury finds probable cause.
  5. Pretrial: This involves various motions and hearings to set the stage for trial.
  6. Trial: The case is presented before a judge or jury for a verdict. Your defense attorney will fight for a Not Guilty verdict.
  7. Plea Bargaining: At any stage, a plea deal may be negotiated to avoid trial.
  8. Sentencing: If there is a conviction, the presiding judge will sentence the defendant.
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Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

A seasoned federal criminal defense attorney is crucial at every stage of the case, including before charges are filed in court. Law enforcement agencies know well-informed, intelligent, and resourceful individuals retain an experienced lawyer the moment an investigation begins. A federal defense attorney is essential to protect your rights during a federal investigation. They will:

  • Protect your statutory and constitutional rights.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors.
  • Minimize or eliminate time in the custody of law enforcement or the U.S. Marshal Service.
  • Develop a robust defense strategy.
  • Investigate possible defense evidence and preserve it for court and negotiations.
  • Provide their client resources to mitigate a sentence or enhance plea negotiations.
  • Guide you through complex legal procedures and potential plea bargains.

Client Testimonials (Names Have Been Changed)

Testimonial from John

I was facing a nightmare scenario, falsely accused of a serious white-collar crime. The weight of a federal investigation was crushing, and I feared for my future. That’s when I turned to LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

From day one, their attorneys were relentless. They quickly understood the complexities of my case and identified the real culprit who had framed me to escape justice. Their expertise and swift action led the FBI to recommend charges against the true perpetrator, clearing my name.

Without LEWIS & DICKSTEIN’s intervention, I might have been wrongfully convicted and my life forever tarnished. I owe them an immense debt of gratitude for their dedication, skill, and unwavering commitment to protecting my rights. They are true legal champions.

John, grateful client of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

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Testimonial from Ahmed, M.D.

I am a medical doctor, and my career means everything to me. When I was accused of sexually touching the woman sitting next to me on a Delta flight from New York to Detroit Metro Airport, my life turned upside down. I had consumed a couple of drinks during the flight and may have inadvertently annoyed the woman by touching her leg, but I would never have touched her inappropriately or sexually. The situation escalated when she passed a note to the stewardess, and I was taken off the plane by federal agents upon landing.

I knew I needed the best representation possible, and that’s when I hired Loren Dickstein from LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. From the very beginning, Loren showed an exceptional understanding of my situation and a dedication to clearing my name. He was able to negotiate on my behalf before any indictment, and thanks to his efforts, I was able to plead under advisement to a misdemeanor. This meant that I had no criminal record or penalties and only had to complete some community service.

One of the most significant impacts on my life was Delta’s decision to ban me from all future flights. Loren went above and beyond by getting me removed from the no-fly list, allowing me to travel freely again. His expertise, compassion, and relentless advocacy truly saved my career and my reputation.

I am incredibly grateful to Loren Dickstein and the team at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for their outstanding legal representation and unwavering support during this challenging time.

— Ahmed, M.D.

Practical Advice

If you suspect you are under federal investigation, here are some immediate steps to take:

  • Do Not Speak to Federal Agents Without an Attorney: Politely decline to answer questions and request legal representation.
  • Document All Interactions: Keep detailed records of any interactions with law enforcement.
  • Seek Legal Counsel Immediately: An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance and representation.
Lewis & Dickstein, Southfield, Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do first if I’m arrested by the federal government and indicted?

Contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, such as the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., immediately. They will help you navigate the pretrial stage and decide whether to go to trial or consider a plea bargain.

What is a plea bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement where you plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence, avoiding the uncertainties of a trial.

Am I required to make a statement if I’ve been charged with a federal crime?

No, you are not required to make any statements. You are strongly advised to consult with your attorney before speaking to federal agents. Understanding your 5th Amendment rights during a federal investigation is crucial.

How long will my case take?

Federal cases typically move slower than state cases. The duration varies based on case complexity and court schedules. A federal prosecution can take months or years to complete.

What happens if I’m convicted at the end of the trial?

You have the right to appeal the conviction. An appeal reviews the legal proceedings for errors that could have affected the outcome. Usually, the sentencing hearing is scheduled in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan about three (3) months after the trial conviction or guilty plea.

Do I need a federal criminal defense attorney if I’m being prosecuted for a federal crime?

Federal cases require specialized knowledge of federal laws and procedures, making experienced federal attorneys crucial. Attorneys who primarily handle state cases have a significant disadvantage due to their lack of experience in federal court.

Can I switch attorneys in the middle of my case?

Yes, you can switch defense attorneys but ensure new counsel is secured before terminating your current attorney to maintain continuous representation.

Is it better to cooperate with the government?

Cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office can be beneficial but also risky. Discuss this with your attorney to understand the implications and negotiate effectively.

Do I have to testify if my case goes to trial?

No, you are not required to testify at trial. Considering the strategy and potential risks involved, this decision should be made with your attorney.

What is a Rule 11 plea agreement?

A Rule 11 plea agreement, based on Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, outlines the process for entering a plea. It ensures the plea is made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently. During the Rule 11 colloquy, the judge confirms the defendant understands the charges, the rights they are waiving, and the consequences of the plea.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Your Best Defense to a Federal Prosecution is LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Understanding your rights during the federal investigation process can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney by your side is essential to navigate these complexities and protect your interests. If you have questions or need legal representation, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We will find a way to help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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Based on 91 reviews
William Pearl
William Pearl
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I cannot speak highly enough of the exceptional legal representation provided by Loren Dickstein. Mr. Dickstein recently assisted my grandmother with her DUI case, and his expertise, professionalism, and compassion were truly unmatched. From our initial conversation, Mr. Dickstein demonstrated a deep understanding of DUI law and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for my grandmother. His attention to detail and strategic approach were evident throughout the process, instilling confidence in us during a challenging time. Not only did Mr. Dickstein provide expert legal guidance, but he also showed genuine empathy towards my grandmother, easing much of the stress and anxiety associated with the situation. His transparent communication and willingness to address our concerns promptly were greatly appreciated. Thanks to Mr. Dickstein's outstanding representation, my grandmother's case was resolved with a result that exceeded our expectations. I am immensely grateful for his dedication, professionalism, and integrity, and I would not hesitate to recommend his services to anyone in need of legal assistance. If you're looking for an attorney who will go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, look no further than Loren Dickstein. Thank you, Mr. Dickstein, for your exceptional service.
Mike Trevino
Mike Trevino
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Loren was quick and professional in assiting me. He got an un-prosecuted arrest off of my criminal record in only a few weeks.
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Loren made me feel extremely comfortable in a situation that has been one of the most serious of my life. The comfort didn't come from coddling, or selling false hope, and it definitely didn't come from empty promises. He is very proactive, very dependable and really upfront. The initial contact was when I called the 24hr office line, after business hours. I received a call, the following morning from Loren. I expected it to be a representative and was working. I was already nervous about my situation, but the fact that he "checked in", was a huge deal. He asked preliminary info like my court date and offense(s). My court date was way down the line, and I had 2 months to figure out representation and finance stuff. We followed up again, when he called a couple weeks later, but he let me know that I could contact him when my funds were ok. He let me know, that even though I was calling a month ahead of time, that if I didn't get the retainer funds until the week before, that the team was experienced and prepared. (*Fast forward tidbit**, I Called 6 firms in 10/2023.. *Mr. Dickstein and I have already been to court 3 times and received my sentence, and 2 of the 5 originally contacted lawyers, haven't even responded.) I gathered the funds and called back. He offered the interview flexibility between in-person and on the phone. For everything I've been through about this case, I opted to meet. The meeting was not very long, but factual and informational. When I would mumble nervously or jabber (a slight goofy thing about me..), he pointedly and calmly redirected to the facts and realities. I knew he was listening, but I was just at a shameful point in my life. It's a big deal, when you're reassured with FACTS and potential outcomes. I couldn't have hired better representation. Mr. Dickstein's appearance is professional and his eloquence is everything. He has a seriousness and class about him, which communicates comfortably in court. The judge will give you your 15 seconds, but might give your defense team, 3 minutes. When I say, that Loren made the MOST out of those 3 minutes?!.. Wow!. (We had three appearances, and he was early for every one. We always sat in the front row, which is best. Anyone in this situation, shouldn't be bumbling from the back, or stepping over people, while preparing to go before judgement.) He started with FACTS, mixed with some meaningful biography. He said everything positive and helpful about me, within the opening. Because my offense was so aggregious, the judge interrupted him. But then, my whole lawyer, didn't fumble and continued with other recommendations (a little more for me, but not at all what I could have been facing). He made sure to have a response to meet the judges discomfort/dismay. I never realized how fast, counsel has to speak to respond and present to the judge. As a side note, I've seen cases where lawyers fumble and stutter and shuffle pages, but I have never been more amazed than when I noticed that being ON POINT, was another one of his strengths. The fact that he remains organized and has already absorbed his clients backstory, while having the knowledge to speak quickly and CLEARLY to a judge, means everything. *Again, the lawyers communication means EVERYTHING. Judges hear tons of cases, and recognize excuses immediately. Loren made sure that I presented the best summary for my case. He summarized my main points, and balanced with what the judge wanted and needed to hear. My case was difficult for my family and livelihood. Loren secured the most favorable outcome we could have hoped for. I would recommend him to anyone trying to save their job, or life, or livelihood.
rlalko l
rlalko l
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Robert J. Andretz, was my attorney in the Livingston County Courts. I hired him after I was not pleased with results of another lawyer. Mr. Andretz was able inform me of what to expect and guide me through the process. He welcomed me texting him with any questions or concerns I had, and was quick to respond, unless he was in court. My situation was all new for me and I was nervous. I am glad that I went with another attorney, Robert J. Andretz.--This was a self-defense case, and he would go back and forth with the courts to work on the best option.
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I highly recommend hiring Mr. Loren Dickstein and his team. From the very beginning of my case I was nervous that I would be sent to jail because of the facts of my owi case and with a BAC on the higher side. Loren and his team worked endlessly and together on my case, were very compassionate, and cared about what happened to me and my future. He was always available if I had any questions, and able to give me the most favorable outcome that could come out of this with a very tough judge in the 48th district court. My original charge was reduced, no jail time, and I was given probation. During my sentencing, Mr.Randy Lewis stepped in to help and advised and assured me that he would not let me down and he did just that! I am very grateful to everyone involved and could not have picked better representation!
santosha harris
santosha harris
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Attorney Dickstein was awesome. He listened and he followed through with everything that he explained to me. If I ever need help in the future I will definitely use his services again.
Robert Schuetz
Robert Schuetz
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My experience was extremely positive. My lawyer RobertAndretz do an incredible job , worked very hard for me and am sure more than I realize behind the scenes .he made it very easy to understand all that was going on with my case by explaining every detail . My case results were exactly what I had hoped for. I am very thankful he was my lawyer .
Jessica Woodring
Jessica Woodring
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Parisa is extremely knowledgeable, professional and I was always well informed. I will forever recommend Parisa to anyone and everyone.
Bethany Racer
Bethany Racer
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I hired George to represent me as a victim's advocate in a domestic violence case. I was the 'alleged victim' in a situation that was grossly misrepresented from the start. He quickly identified issues that could cause self-incrimination if I were to testify. He did NOT let the prosecution bully me into testifying without the protection of immunity. Immunity was granted because of his expertise and knowledge of the law. I was given the opportunity to testify without fear, set things right, and exonerate someone who was falsely accused of domestic violence. George was direct, honest, and didn't sugarcoat anything. He was always prompt in his communication and made sure I understood my rights and my options. In short, he gave me and my family our lives back. He even held my purse when I thought I couldn't bring it with me to the stand (turns out I could. Sorry George!) If you're looking for fair, aggressive representation and someone who truly makes you feel understood, look no further. He's absolutely not afraid to win