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Federal Criminal Investigations

If you are involved in a federal criminal investigation, you need an experienced federal lawyer. The lawyers at Johnson/Citronberg represent clients in federal court nationwide.

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Federal criminal investigations typically involve at least one of the following:

  • Grand Jury Subpoena
  • Search Warrant
  • Target Letter

If you receive a target letter or grand jury subpoena, or if a search warrant is executed at your home or workplace, this means that you or someone you know is the target of a federal criminal investigation. By hiring a federal criminal lawyer during the investigation, you can accomplish two things: 1) protect your rights and ensure you don’t incriminate yourself, and 2) significantly increase the odds that you won’t be criminally charged.


Grand Jury Subpoenas

Federal Grand Jury Subpoena example

Search Warrants

Federal Search Warrant

Target Letters

Federal Target Letter


What is a federal search warrant?


A federal search warrant is a document that allows law enforcement officers to search a property, building, vehicle, or in some cases, a specific electronic device or account (e.g., cell phones and email accounts). A search warrant is signed by a federal judge after a law enforcement officer submits an application or affidavit explaining why there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be located at the search location. 

You can see an example of federal search warrant here.

If officers search your home or workplace, it normally means that they believe you committed a crime and that they are attempting to gather evidence to support their belief. During the execution of the search warrant, officers will usually attempt to interview the people present in order to get them to confess or make admissions.

Hiring a federal criminal lawyer during a search or shortly thereafter can ensure that you do not incriminate yourself and that law enforcement does not seize anything beyond what is described in the warrant. A defense lawyer can also work with the prosecutor overseeing the investigation to ensure that your rights are protected and that you take advantage of any opportunity to prevent criminal charges from being filed.


What does it mean if I received a federal grand jury subpoena?


A federal grand jury subpoena means that either you or someone you know is being investigated for a federal crime. To charge someone with a crime, prosecutors need to obtain an indictment from a grand jury. Prosecutors can subpoena evidence — either by way of testimony or documents — from individuals and companies to present to the grand jury.

In many white collar or fraud cases, prosecutors will issue a grand jury subpoena for documents pertaining to a company, and the prosecutor will allow you to submit these documents via mail instead of appearing in person. The requested documents usually involve emails, bank statements, and electronically stored information. 

It is critically important that you hire a federal criminal attorney to represent you if you receive a grand jury subpoena. An attorney can make sure that you follow proper procedure so that aren’t held in contempt and that you invoke your right against self-incrimination if possible. An attorney can also take steps to prevent criminal charges from being filed in some cases.


What should I do if I received a target letter?


A “Target Letter” is a letter from an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) explaining that he or she would like to speak with you about a criminal case or investigation. The letter will normally suggest that you hire a criminal defense lawyer by a certain date and request that you have the lawyer contact the AUSA.

Once you hire a federal criminal lawyer, the lawyer will reach out to the AUSA and advise that you have retained counsel. Your lawyer can then determine if you are a “target” in the investigation or if you are instead a “subject” or “witness.” A target is someone that the government intends to charge with a crime. A subject is someone who may or may not be charged, and a witness is someone who will likely not be charged.

If you are a target, your lawyer will attempt to move you into the subject or witness categories. If that’s not possible, your lawyer will ensure that you do not incriminate yourself and that you are not arrested without notice. Your lawyer will also begin to investigate your case to build a defense and work towards a resolution that is favorable to you.


Contact Us


Our federal criminal lawyers have years of experience representing clients in serious federal criminal investigations. You can call us at 703-684-8000 or email us below for a free case consultation. From our offices in Alexandria, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia, we are able to represent clients across the country.


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(703)-684-8000