You Have a Constitutional Right Against Self-Incrimination
Video Transcribed: What are your rights when you’re facing a federal criminal investigation? My name’s Ted Hasse. I’m a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Oklahoma at Wirth Law Office. I work out of our Tulsa office. Right now we’re seeing more and more federal investigations being opened and handled in northern and eastern Oklahoma.
This has been the trend in the last year, since the Supreme Court ruling in McGirt. I’m not going to talk about that here, I’ve talked about that elsewhere. The impact of that ruling, there’s just been a huge number of federal cases being open, federal investigations that are leading to indictments, and more and more we’re getting calls from people who are facing a federal investigation.
There’s a number of ways that you can find out that you are the subject of a federal investigation. I won’t talk about that here, but once you find out that you are the target of a criminal investigation by federal agents it’s important to know what your rights are.
Now, under the US Constitution, you’re guaranteed a number of procedural rights in the criminal context. Most of those rights, for example, the ability to confront witnesses against you, the right to be presented with the evidence that’s being brought against you, a lot of those rights don’t really kick in until there is some indictment, and when that happens through discovery and trial.
Your most important right, when you’re facing a criminal investigation or an indictment, is your right to remain silent. You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. It’s important for people to know that when the federal agent and FBI, ATF, secret service get in contact with you, you don’t have to talk to them, and very rarely, in very few circumstances does it make sense to talk to them.
Certainly, hardly any circumstance would it make sense to talk to them if they’re building a case against you and you know that you’re the target of an investigation so it’s important to get a lawyer involved as early as possible.
The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to not help them make that case against you. It’s amazing to me, I hear story after story of people who do not exercise that right even though most people know from watching cop shows and that sort of thing that that’s a right that you have and it’s right you should invoke.
Just taking one example, recently had a client come to me who had already, without an attorney representing them, had decided to, of his own free will, go in and testify to a grand jury for an indictment of himself.
Now, it was a situation where he had hoped that perhaps if he cooperated people he cared about wouldn’t be indicted and it just didn’t work out that way whatsoever. I think he knows now it was a mistake. Just case after case, people make it really hard on themselves and make it tough on their lawyers when they go in and they decide to just talk to the feds.
Even if you are not guilty of what they think you’re guilty of, it rarely makes sense to talk to the feds. They’re trying to build a case against you, they’re not trying to find a way to get you off the hook.
Please feel free to give us a call if you need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, or If you any have questions, call (918) 932-2800.