What is a Target Letter?
Federal Law Enforcement officers send target letters to inform people that they are the subject of a federal investigation. It is often supplied to witnesses who have been subpoena’d before a Grand Jury.
If you have received one of these letters you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately, even if you haven’t yet been charged with any crimes.
Why does the government send target letters?
A target letter is a little like a Miranda warning for individuals who are being brought before a Grand Jury. The letter will inform you that you have the right to avoid answering questions that may incriminate you, and that anything you do choose to say may be used against you later.
It also will let you know what your rights are vis a vis working with your attorney at the Grand Jury proceedings. For example, you can often step outside with your attorney to confer about whether it is strategically wise to answer a question.
When you have received a target matter it does mean that the U.S. Attorney has substantial evidence linking you to a federal crime. There’s a good chance you will be charged and indicted. If you were merely considered to be someone who has information that is relevant to the Grand Jury proceedings you would have received a “subject letter” instead.
How are target letters delivered?
You will not receive a target letter via US mail. Federal Agents usually deliver the letter in person.
When Federal Agents deliver the letter they may attempt to interview you. If they do this, invoke your right to remain silent and express that you are also invoking your right to an attorney. Tell them you will not talk to them without your attorney present.
Try to call an attorney right then and there if they continue to attempt to ask you questions.
What can an attorney do about a target letter?
An attorney will often help you out by negotiating a proffer agreement. This is essentially a plea bargain where you give the government information on other targets who they want to prosecute more. It’s an informal negotiation that could give you an opportunity for a shorter sentence or even limited immunity.
Your attorney will need to get an understanding of your case before attempting this, since it will be important to determine how much a target can gain from these negotiations and what the strategy should be throughout the case.
Get Help Today
If you have received a target letter you are in big trouble. Do not dismiss it and do not ignore it.
Instead, reach out to an experienced clinical defense attorney who can help you decide on your next steps. Call Koch Law today.
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