If you receive a target letter from the Department of Justice, your initial reactions are probably shock and alarm. After all, the implication of such a letter is that you are the subject of a law enforcement investigation.
Knowing that you are under federal scrutiny because of possible relation to a crime, you might seek advice on how to carefully plan your next steps.
Follow instructions given in the letter
A target letter will inform you of the alleged crimes under investigation by the Department of Justice and will contain instructions that you must follow. Specifically, you will be under order to not destroy or alter evidence related to the crimes mentioned in the letter. You will also receive an explanation of your rights, including that of refusing to answer any questions that may incriminate you. Taking the contents of the letter to heart will help you avoid further trouble as a target.
Consider contacting your own defense lawyer
During the investigation mentioned in the target letter, you will have access to defense counsel provided by the court. However, you may wish to contact your own attorney who may be better suited to advocate for your interests. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in federal courts is likely to have the experience necessary to combat the charges against you.
Receiving a “target” label from the Department of Justice does not have a be a guarantee that you will receive a sentence in a federal court. Taking the appropriate steps to build a solid defense case is the best course of action.