What Are Your Rights When the FBI or Investigators Knock? NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Here to Inform You What You Should Do and Not Do.

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

It’s 6 a.m. and you are lying in bed when an incoming call from an unknown number wakes you. The voice on the other end of the line says, “Sir, this is FBI Agent ___, we are outside your house and would like to ask you a few questions.” This was not a phone call you were expecting, and you begin to panic. As a United States Citizen you should be aware of your rights.

First and foremost, you should exercise your right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendments protect you regardless of age, citizenship, or your status at the time of arrest. Remaining silent is the most important thing to do in this situation. Often, individuals who become nervous in front of investigators or FBI agents begin to talk freely and sometimes lie to investigators while under extreme panic. Lying or making false statements to a Federal Investigator is a crime, and can be avoided by remaining silent. When you are approached by a law enforcement agent like an FBI Investigator, simply tell them, “I am not talking to you.” Refusing to speak to them is not a crime, but lying to a federal official is a federal offense. Remember that anything you say to them can be used against you in the future.

You can also ask for a lawyer. This will often put an end to the questioning. A NJ State and Federal Criminal Defense lawyer can protect your rights, and inquire about the nature of any investigation so that they can advise you during questioning. It is also your right to refuse access to your house or belonging without a search warrant. If you allow the investigator to enter your doorway it can be construed as consent to search. Be sure to clearly state aloud, “I do not consent to a search.” Be aware that if you let an officer with an arrest warrant into your home, it is legal for them to conduct a warrantless search; therefore, step outside to ensure your rights. If the investigator claims to have a warrant, it is your right to demand to see it. A proper warrant should be signed by a judge and specifies the places to search and the people or things to seize. Still state that you do not consent to the search and watch what the investigators do, with witnesses around if applicable. You may also videotape the proceedings if you are represented, call your attorney.

Lastly, keep personal records on all encounters, including names of investigators, phone numbers, and their agency. Hire a lawyer to protect your constitutional rights. We at Schwartz & Posnock are skilled criminal defense attorneys with a proven track record of excellent results for our clients. Please contact us in any one of our convenient locations, including our Monmouth County office, located in Eatontown (at the Jersey Shore), our Essex County office, located in Livingston, our Union County office, located in Linden, or our Middlesex County office, located in East Brunswick, to discuss your case. You may call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock at 732-544-1460 or email us at info@schwartzposnock.com.

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