What To Do if the FBI Contacts You

What To Do If The FBI Contacts You

So you get a strange phone call. You can tell by the serious tone of the voice on the other end that something not good’s going on.

Or a couple of official-looking people ring your doorbell and want to talk to you. Again, you can tell by the way they dress, this is going to be trouble.

In both cases, your suspicions are confirmed and you find out it’s the FBI.

What do you do when this happens?

Follow these tips, and you’ll be just fine:

Stay Calm And Remember Law Only Requires You Give Your Name and Address

If FBI agents have a reasonable suspicion you have committed a crime, or are about to commit one (but have no warrant), you are only legally required to provide them with identification, which can be done by verbally telling them or simply showing an official ID card of some sort.

Federal law does not require you to answer any other questions.

Remember, FBI agents are trained investigators. So they know how to persuade you by making you feel scared, impolite, or guilty.

You might feel any of those feelings intensely. But you’re not required to speak to the FBI in any way. And you don’t have to talk to them even if they do have an arrest or search warrant.

However, you do have to comply with their arrest or search efforts if they do have a warrant.

And remember, the minute they contact you, you can contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice at any time.

The law cannot see this as you refusing to cooperate. It is your legal right.

What if FBI Agents Say They Have a Search Warrant?

Ask to see it first. They have to show you the warrant to make it a legal search. If they can’t show you the warrant, refuse to let them in.

If they force their way in anyway, allow them in without resistance. That’s for your own safety and to avoid the possibility that they will attempt to find a separate charge for resisting arrest.

And remember, a search warrant in no way requires you to answer any of their questions. Stay silent as they search.

As they search, observe what they do, and take mental and written notes. Call your criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. I have gotten calls from individuals while the authorities were still at their home.

If You Don’t Cooperate, Doesn’t that Make You Look Guilty?

In the perception of common people, yes. But the law works much differently than the understanding of the common person.

You might be tempted to talk to the FBI because you know you’re innocent and an honest person. But, even if you unwittingly or out of fear or forgetfulness give two inconsistent statements, you could be charged with making false statements to the FBI. And you don’t even want to do something “small,” like telling the FBI you don’t know the location of a family member when in fact you do.

Follow these tips to perfection to avoid any unnecessary or stressful legal consequences.