Target Letters, and What to Do if You Receive One

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerThere is a lot that happens in a federal investigation and much of the time, a person does not even realize they are being investigated until they receive a target letter in the mail. Target letters are very intimidating and can strike fear in the hearts of anyone that receives one. After receiving a target letter, it is also natural to wonder what you should do next. So, what is a target letter and what does it mean for you?

What Is a Target Letter?

During a federal investigation, there are three categories federal agencies will place people into. These are witnesses, subjects, and the target. The target is the person federal investigators are targeting and believe has committed a crime such as embezzlement or a drug crime.

The subjects in the investigation are individuals federal agents believe may know something about a crime, but they do not believe a subject has committed the offense. Like in any other legal case, witnesses are individuals that may have seen the crime and so, law enforcement and the prosecution only want to talk to them to learn more about what may have happened.

What to Do After Receiving a Target Letter

Target letters typically ask the recipient to take certain action. They may ask you to attend a meeting with the Assistant United States Attorney involved in the investigation. The target letter may also request that you testify before the grand jury voluntarily. Lastly, some target letters may ask that you hire an attorney and ask the attorney to call the prosecutor in the case.

Even if the target letter does not ask you to retain legal help, it is crucial that you speak to a lawyer if you have received a target letter. The chances are good that a federal agency and the prosecution believes that you are guilty of a crime, which means you may face charges even if you have not already.

What Happens After Receiving a Target Letter?

In many cases, after the government sends you a target letter, they may try to arrange a plea deal. This will save them the time and trouble of an indictment and may mean less severe consequences for you. If the government offers a plea deal, you and your attorney will discuss the case to determine the likelihood of a conviction being secured against you and what is in your best interests. If you decide not to take the plea, the government will likely file official charges against you.

If the government is not yet convinced that you have committed a crime, together you and your attorney may prepare a presentation for the prosecution. Within the prosecution, you will argue your case about why you should not be prosecuted. After hearing your presentation, the prosecution may decide to drop the charges.

Receiving a target letter does not necessarily mean that you will face federal charges, or even go to trial. Still, target letters are extremely serious, which is why anyone that receives one needs to seek legal counsel immediately.

Have You Received a Target Letter? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

There are few things that are more frightening than receiving a target letter. If the federal government has sent you one of these documents, you need to speak to a skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we know how to proceed after individuals have received target letters, and we can advise on what is best for your case. If the government decides to pursue a case against you, Attorney Garfinkel will also build a strong defense for you, and give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 312-629-0669 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.


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