Approached by the FBI Concerning a Federal Law Enforcement Investigation in New Jersey? What Should You Do? What Are Your Rights?

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

Here is a common scenario. It’s early in the morning and you’re getting ready for work. Your cell phone rings and it’s a blocked call. Curious, and maybe concerned, you answer the phone. The caller announces that it is Special Agent Jones. “ I’m parked outside of your house.” “ I would like to talk to you about your involvement in a possible violation of federal law.”

Sometimes, it’s a knock on the door, at dinner time, just when you are winding down after a hard day. The FBI presence at your doorstep can be jarring. At that moment, you are likely vulnerable, and under these conditions, you may not make the best choices for your future.

Our new clients always ask us, “If I find out that I am involved in a federal law enforcement investigation, am I required to talk to law enforcement investigators?” If you talk, without having an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to advise you of the best course of action, you are making a potentially catastrophic mistake.

First, you need to know that the right to remain silent pertains to every step in a criminal investigation, even at the very beginning when the FBI comes to visit you. The advice we give every client is this: DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. NONE. NOT ONE. PERIOD.

Instead, tell the agent that you want to discuss the matter with an attorney and politely ask him for his business card. This is standard operating procedure and the agent will understand and respect your preference. In our practice, we contact the agent and then the US Attorney handling the investigation for the US Government. We engage the US Attorney in a discussion about the investigation, your potential role, and whether you will be charged. It is only after having basic information that you can begin to even think about whether you should talk to investigators.

For individuals who are facing NJ federal criminal prosecution or sentencing in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, or state criminal prosecution or sentencing in the criminal courts of New Jersey, or who are appealing their criminal matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the New Jersey Appellate Division, or the Supreme Court of New Jersey, it is critical to have an experienced federal and state New Jersey criminal defense attorney represent you. The experienced criminal defense lawyers of Schwartz & Posnock appear in all Federal Courts of New Jersey, as well as the State and Municipal criminal courts in New Jersey, and have convenient locations in Monmouth County (Eatontown), Essex County (Livingston), Union County (Linden), and Middlesex County (East Brunswick). Call us at 732-544-1460 or email us at to schedule an appointment, and make sure to visit our web page at We look forward to obtaining a positive outcome in your case.

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