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5 Signs You May Be Under Federal Investigation

5 Signs You May Be Under Federal Investigation

Are You Under Federal Investigation?

While being accused of any crime can be a daunting experience, facing federal criminal charges can be all the more terrifying. A criminal conviction can carry harsh penalties, and federal charges can be especially severe if convicted, making it all the more important to understand what steps to take if you suspect you’re being investigated or monitored by a federal agency. Keep reading to learn common signs of being under federal investigation in South Carolina.

What Is a Federal Crime?

It’s important for defendants to take allegations of federal crimes extremely seriously in South Carolina, as the consequences of a conviction generally include severe penalties. Federal sentencing guidelines tend to be stricter than those for state crimes, and federal prisons have mandatory minimum sentences for many offenses.

Defendants can also find themselves disadvantaged by the vast resources in the U.S. government’s possession that may be used against them, such as experienced federal investigators and prosecutors.

What Sets Federal Crimes Apart?

Federal crimes are set apart from state crimes primarily by their nature and scope. While state crimes are offenses against the laws of an individual state, federal crimes typically involve national interests, cross-state activities, or violations of federal laws. As a general rule, federal jurisdiction can come into play when criminal activity crosses state lines, involves federal property or federal employees, or violates a federal statute.

Common Types of Federal Crimes

Some common examples of federal crimes in South Carolina include:

  • Drug trafficking – This involves the illegal import, export, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances across state lines.
  • Fraud crimes – This broad category includes mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, and healthcare fraud, among others.
  • White-collar crimes – These non-violent crimes usually involve deceit or breach of trust and can include embezzlement, money laundering, and insider trading.
  • Weapons offenses – Unlawful possession, sale, manufacture, or import/export of firearms or other weapons can fall under federal jurisdiction.

Who Conducts Federal Investigations?

Federal investigations are primarily conducted by various agencies within the U.S. government, each with its own specific jurisdiction and responsibilities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principal federal law enforcement agency that conducts domestic investigations.

The FBI is responsible for addressing a wide range of criminal activities, including terrorism, cybercrime, white-collar crimes, organized crime, civil rights violations, and other federal offenses. The FBI operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and is responsible for both law enforcement and intelligence duties. Examples of other entities that can conduct federal investigations include:

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – Crimes involving alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, and arson
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Drug-related crimes
  • U.S. Secret Service– Financial crimes and protection of national leaders

Also investigations conducted by local police agencies (such as your city officers, county Sheriff's Departments, or state agencies like SLED), can also be working with or passing off information to federal investigators.

What Is the Purpose of a Federal Investigation?

Being under a federal investigation means that federal law enforcement agents are investigating potential violations of federal law. This is the first step in the federal criminal justice process. During this stage, investigators will seek evidence indicating that an individual committed a crime. Federal investigations are very serious and can lead to arrests if compelling evidence is found.

More often than not, if you’re arrested following a federal investigation, this means that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict you. If you suspect you’re under federal investigation by the FBI,

5 Signs You May Be Under Federal Investigation

There are various signs that an individual is under federal investigation. While there is no foolproof way to know for sure, there are common red flags that may be indicative of a federal investigation, making it all the more important for South Carolina residents to stay aware of their surroundings and reach out to a trusted attorney when necessary.

Below are 5 signs that you may be under federal investigation:

  1. You received a target letter – One of the most obvious signs is receiving a target letter from a federal prosecutor or a grand jury. These letters usually inform you that you are the target of an investigation and may also include your rights and advice to seek legal counsel.
  2. Federal investigators appeared at your home or workplace – If agents from the FBI, IRS, or another federal agency show up at your door or workplace asking questions, this could be a sign of an investigation.
  3. Unusual financial activity from banking institutions – If your bank or other financial institutions notify you of unusual activity, such as frozen assets or accounts, large cash transactions, or if your accountant receives a subpoena for your financial records, you might be under investigation.
  4. Surveillance – If you notice unmarked vehicles or unfamiliar people frequently around your home or workplace, you might be under surveillance, which is often used in federal investigations.
  5. Interviewing of family, friends, or coworkers – If people around you are being contacted or interviewed by federal investigators, it could be an indication that you are under investigation.

While these signs don’t necessarily mean that you’re under federal investigation, they can at least indicate that it’s time to consult with an experienced defense attorney who can help clients prepare for what comes next.

I Think I’m Under Federal Investigation. Now What?

If you suspect that you may be under federal investigation in South Carolina, securing strong representation from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer is imperative to avoid life-changing ramifications in court. An experienced advocate can advocate fiercely on your behalf and use the advance notice to your advantage by:

  • Preparing for your case well ahead of time
  • Fortifying your claims with relevant evidence
  • Clarifying any confusing legal jargon or criminal processes
  • Determining which defense is most effective to employ under your unique circumstances

Contact an Aggressive Lexington Criminal Defense Lawyer

At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we have extensive experience representing the accused in a variety of criminal cases, from DUIs to probation violations to domestic violence. When it comes to safeguarding your future and hard-earned reputation, don’t risk settling for less than superior representation in criminal court. Our criminal defense attorneys will fight tooth and nail to obtain the justice and freedom that you rightfully deserve.

Accused of a crime in SC? Don’t wait to secure the strong defense you need to protect your future. Call (803) 359-3301 to request a consultation.


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