Should You Answer Questions by Federal Officers?

 Posted on April 11, 2024 in Federal Crimes

Chicago, IL criminal defense lawyerYou have the right to remain silent. Many people know this, but few choose to exercise this right. If an FBI agent is questioning you, you may think that it looks suspicious if you choose not to answer their questions.

Federal officers operate by pressuring people to cooperate. Before you answer questions from an FBI agent or any federal agent, it is important that you consult with a Chicago federal criminal lawyer.

What Types of Federal Officers May Question Me?

The type of federal officers that will question you depends largely on the charges you are up against. If you are under investigation for a federal crime, officers from any of the following federal agencies have the right to question you:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 

  • Department of Homeland Security 

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection

  • U.S. Secret Service 

  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Constitutional Rights

The Fifth Amendment affords all United States citizens the right of protection from self-incrimination. Whereas most of us think of this right as only protecting defendants from giving incriminating testimony in court, the Fifth Amendment also pertains to those being questioned in police custody (known as “custodial interrogation.”)

Besides this Fifth Amendment right, the Sixth Amendment gives all federal defendants the right to counsel. So, if you are being questioned by a police officer in connection with a federal crime, you have the right to request that your attorney be present at that time. In fact, you should only answer a federal officer’s questions with your attorney present.

Generally, if your right to counsel is violated, any statements or confessions you make will be inadmissible at trial. However, an otherwise inadmissible statement may be used against you if your truthfulness is called into question at trial. Known as impeaching the defendant, this is a major exception to the rule.

What Happens if You Lie to a Federal Officer?

Whereas you have the right to remain silent, if you choose to lie to a federal agent, you could be charged under 18 U.S.C. §1001. A violation of this statute could result in fines and up to five years in federal prison. If your alleged crime is connected to domestic or international terrorism, you could be imprisoned for eight years.

Why You Should Hire a Chicago Federal Criminal Lawyer

The federal government will do anything it takes to indict you. With federal agencies having vast resources to build a case against you, you need a legal advocate. When you hire a Chicago federal criminal lawyer, you are hiring an aggressive and dedicated professional who will never stop fighting for you. As a former prosecutor, he knows what tactics the government will try and what strategies to employ to combat them effectively. 

Under Federal Investigation? Contact Our Chicago, IL Federal Criminal Lawyer 

As a United States citizen, you have the right to have an attorney present when being questioned by federal agents. If you suspect you are under federal investigation, our Chicago, IL federal criminal lawyer wants to hear from you. Contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation.

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