Discovering the FBI at your doorstep can be a frightening experience. You do not want to make mistakes that could result in your arrest, but you may not know what to do. Our experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyers can help you take steps to protect your legal rights.
Why the FBI May Knock on Your Door
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) mission is to protect the American people. FBI agents may have various reasons to visit your home, including:
- Investigation. The FBI might approach you as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, either as a witness, a potential suspect, or someone with information about a case.
- National security concerns. If your activities, connections, or online behavior raise national security concerns, FBI agents may initiate an inquiry to assess any potential threats.
- Suspected illegal activities. The FBI may visit your residence if they believe you are involved in criminal activities, such as fraud, drug trafficking, or cybercrime, or have a warrant for your arrest.
- Informant or witness. Another reason the FBI may knock on your door is to gather information or request your cooperation as an informant or witness in a criminal investigation.
What You Should Do if the FBI Shows Up at Your House
It is crucial to exercise your legal rights if the FBI comes to your home unannounced. Here are some essential steps you should take:
- Stay calm. Remain composed and do not panic. Remember that exercising your rights is vital. Also, do not make any sudden movements, and keep your hands visible so that the situation does not escalate into a dangerous one.
- Remain silent. You have the right to remain silent. Politely inform the agents that you choose not to answer any questions until you consult an attorney. Avoid volunteering any information that they could potentially use against you.
- Find out if they have a warrant. Respectfully ask the agents if they possess a search or arrest warrant. If they do, request to see it before allowing them entry. If they do not have a warrant, you should exercise your right not to permit them to enter your home.
- Don't talk to the FBI without a lawyer. You also have the right not to engage in conversations with the FBI without the presence of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Any statements you make can be used against you in a criminal investigation and court, so you need a lawyer present to protect your rights.