In this day of complex federal and state financial regulations, mistakes and misunderstandings occur, and good people can find themselves under investigation.
The first indication of an investigation is often an unannounced visit from a state investigator or federal agent. Suddenly learning that you’re under investigation is terrifying and leads to the question, “What should I do?”
First, it is important to know that you are under no obligation to speak with an investigator. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I want to talk to a lawyer before I make the decision to speak with you,” and this is often the wisest thing to do.
Here are a few more important tips to keep in mind.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away.
As you may have guessed, after learning you’re under investigation, the first thing you’ll want to do is talk to an attorney. Involving an experienced criminal defense attorney in the early stages of an investigation is critical, as defenses and mitigation can be explored and presented before a prosecutor even decides to file a case.
Don’t Lie to the Investigator.
Under federal law, it is a separate criminal offense to make material false statements to a state investigator or federal agent. Just like you can refuse to speak to an investigator during an unannounced visit, you should not agree to any interviews without consulting or having your lawyer present.
Don’t Ignore or Interfere with the Investigation.
It is never a good idea to just ignore the visit and hope that nothing bad will happen. As the saying goes, "The best defense is a good offense." Do not interfere with the investigation by tampering with evidence, such as deleting or modifying computer files or talking to people other than your lawyer about the investigation.
Keep Good Records.
If you do speak to an investigator before consulting an attorney, make sure to record any conversation with as much detail as possible. Also, gather and make copies of documents or files that may be relevant to your case so you can share them with your attorney.
At Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., we have a legal team with decades of experience in federal and state investigations and prosecutions. Our firm serves New Hampshire and Maine residents in cases involving fraud, drug crimes, violent crimes, sexual offenses, white-collar crimes, and more. With our extensive experience, we are sometimes able to avoid a criminal prosecution through early advocacy. If prosecution is unavoidable, representation by a skilled trial lawyer is crucial to reducing the severity of any legal consequences facing our clients. Where appropriate, a vigorous defense must be mounted.
We know how traumatic and scary it can be to learn that you are under investigation. Having a tenacious advocate in your corner who cares about your case and what happens to you will enable you to have the best possible outcome. If you learn that you and your business are under investigation, our New Hampshire and Maine lawyers stand ready to help. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced law professionals, please call (888) 801-9916to learn more about your legal options or contact us here.