Why you need an attorney when you’re a federal witness
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Why you need an attorney when you’re a federal witness

| Jun 19, 2020 | Federal Criminal Defense

Federal agents have been knocking on your door, leaving you messages and asking you to call. You’re pretty sure that it’s your boss that’s their target rather than you, but you’re still anxious and worried — and rightly so.

Here’s the quandary you’re in: If you refuse to talk to the federal authorities during their investigation, you risk becoming a target. You could also potentially be accused of obstruction of justice. If you talk to them, however, you could end up saying something that you don’t realize is an admission of guilt. You could also say the wrong thing under oath and end up in what’s sometimes called “the perjury trap” if what you say is factually untrue.

There have been numerous high-profile cases where people have found themselves in hot water, legally-speaking, due to their interactions with federal agents — even when they’ve never committed any other offense. Style icon Martha Stewart, for example, famously went to jail not because of insider trading (as many people think) but for obstruction, making false statements to federal agents and other crimes related to her interactions with investigators.

Your options in this situation may vary, depending on whether the investigators are still making informal requests for information or whether you’ve been served a subpoena that will require you to provide documents or give testimony in a grand jury proceeding or trial. Most people are ill-equipped to understand all of the nuances of federal law — and people find themselves facing charges all the time for actions they didn’t know were illegal. An attorney experienced in federal criminal law can help you protect both your rights and your future.