What To Do When the FBI Comes Knocking

So, you are just sitting down to dinner when you hear a knock on your door. You weren’t expecting company, so who could it be?

You open the door to see a pair of FBI agents brandishing their badges. They need some information, they say. They just want to talk to you, they say. “Am I in trouble?” you ask. “We just want to ask you some questions,” they respond.

What do you do in this situation? They haven’t arrested you, so that means you should go ahead and talk to them, right? Wrong.

It is natural to assume, especially if you think you have done nothing wrong, that you should do all you can to cooperate with the FBI when they want to ask you questions. Most people believe that a failure to cooperate will make it seem like they have something to hide, and there is even some truth to that thought. However, the harm you could do to yourself by cooperating with the FBI without consulting with a defense attorney far outweighs the damage you could do by raising the FBI’s suspicions.

When the FBI arrives at your home or your workplace looking for information, very rarely will they ever share their ultimate goal with you. There is no way for you to really know if they are questioning you as a witness, about someone you know, or if they are actually investigating you.

You may think the agents are just there to talk, when in fact they are gathering evidence that they will later use to arrest you and charge you with a crime. FBI agents (or any law enforcement officer for that matter) are trained in the art of interrogation. They know that if they come to your home and meet with you in familiar surroundings, you are more likely to cooperate. However, when the FBI comes knocking, it is always in your best interests to consult with a criminal defense attorney first.

You might be thinking, “If I didn’t do anything wrong, why do I need an attorney? Won’t the agents think I’m hiding something?” Rest assured that is not the case. FBI agents understand the role of a defense attorney in the process, and will respect your right to consult with counsel. Ask the agents for their business cards and contact information, and tell them that your attorney will be contacting them in the next few days. Your attorney will be able to call the agent and determine exactly why they want to question you. That way, you will know whether or not it is in your best interests to provide them with the information they are seeking.

So, when you are faced with FBI agents who are seeking to question you, politely and respectfully tell them that you would be happy to cooperate with them, but you would feel more comfortable if you had an attorney with you. Generally, while they may be disappointed, the agents will be very professional about the situation and willing to wait and speak with your attorney. Then, contact Barry M. Wax to set up a consultation so he can represent your interests. Chances are, you have nothing to worry about. And while it may sound cliche, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax