Realizing that you just received a letter from a United States Attorney’s Office may make your heart sink. After all, any communication from a federal prosecutor is indicative of a potentially serious problem.
Opening that envelope to discover a target of interest letter or target letter may make your heart sink. You may start thinking about if there is jail in your future and wondering how you can potentially protect yourself. When you understand what the target letter aims to accomplish, you may feel less anxious about your recent missive. Additionally, you will have the information you need to take the right steps to protect yourself.
What does a target of interest letter mean for you?
When you receive a target letter, that means that a federal prosecutor has reason to believe that you are a witness or have information that will play a role in a case. Typically, the letter serves to notify you of your status as a witness and to advise you that you will potentially need to testify in front of a grand jury.
A target letter effectively advises you that you will be subpoenaed for your testimony, which means that you have to prepare to talk about complicated matters in a federal court where the wrong statement could potentially lead to charges against you even if you aren’t currently the focus of the investigation. You will very likely need to speak in front of a grand jury and federal prosecutors, and mistakes could be very costly.
Those who receive target letters often need professional support
Trying to navigate criminal matters without a lawyer’s assistance will put you at a disadvantage, as you will have to learn about the law and also the skills related to presenting a case in court. Beyond that, even the most even skilled person may let their nerves get the better of them in a federal criminal court.
A lawyer can help you make sense of the notice that you received and discuss the case. They can help you identify where you may be vulnerable and how to best handle the situation, regardless of what federal attorneys ask you.
Remaining calm but taking the situation seriously will help you push for the best outcome when you find yourself unexpectedly involved in a federal investigation.