What To Do First If Federal Agents Come to Your Home With a Search Warrant
- February 23, 2017
- Tama Kudman
- Comments Off on What To Do First If Federal Agents Come to Your Home With a Search Warrant
Having a search warrant executed at your home is horrible. It is an invasion of your most private space. When Agents enter your home, they have authority from the court to search for certain items that constitute evidence or proceeds of criminal activity. There are certain things you should do and not do during the conduct of the search.
When Agents come to your home with a search warrant, they have the authority to safeguard the scene. Be respectful and do not resist. However, you have a right to see the search warrant and the credentials of the agents, and should ask to see these items. If there is a problem with the warrant, or if agents have exceeded their authority, this can be addressed at a later time by your attorney. Remember, your safety, the safety of other members of your household, and the safety of the Agents is paramount.
Ask the agents to leave you with a copy of the warrant and their business cards. These are documents that will be important to an attorney, who will want to ascertain the nature of the investigation, what agency is conducting the investigating, and who to contact regarding the investigation.
Try to take notes of where the agents are looking and what items they are taking. Try also to listen to any discussions among the agents that may provide insight into the investigation.
Do not Consent to Any Search. The warrant establishes the scope of the agents’ authority. If you are asked to consent to a search of any particular area, container or file, this means that the agent believes that the search is beyond the scope of the search warrant. Do not provide any such consent. This preserves your right to seek suppression of any evidence seized in contravention of the warrant.
Do Not Sign Anything. Agents will likely ask you to sign an inventory. Do not sign it since you have no way of verifying the accuracy of the list.
Hire a Lawyer
Obviously, this is a crucial time to find and hire an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will reach out to investigators and the assigned prosecutor to determine the nature of the investigation. Through these conversations, your attorney might be able to establish a dialogue with prosecutors such that no charges or lesser charges might be filed. Additionally, if charges are inevitable, your attorney might be able to arrange a voluntary surrender to court so that you don’t have to be publicly arrested (or arrested in front of your family) but, rather, can simply report to court.
It is also crucial to begin working on potential defenses to a criminal charge as soon as possible. Investigations can proceed at lightning speed or take years to investigate. Your lawyer will be able to most ably defend you if he/she has adequate time to get a command of the facts/circumstances of the case.
In the best of circumstances, your attorney might be able to convince the government not to bring charges against you. A lawyer can also work to place you in the best position possible if you do, in fact, get charged. In any event, a lawyer can answer your questions and help you to understand what is going on at a very frightening and confusing time.
This Post should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Additionally, the advice contained herein may not be applicable to companies operating in industries regulated by the government. This post is intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.
Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, please be advised that, this communication is not intended to be, was not written to be and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another taxpayer any transaction or matter addressed herein.