Contact with the FBI may be intimidating and you risk surrendering important rights. You should understand your rights during these encounters because the consequences may be severe.
Right to an attorney
You have the right to speak to an attorney and usually do not have to answer questions without an attorney present. If an FBI agent asks to speak with you, tell the agent that you first wish to consult with your attorney who may arrange the interview on your behalf.
Having legal representation is essential. Any information that you give to the FBI without an attorney may be used against you or someone else in a prosecution of a financial fraud or other federal crime. Even seemingly harmless information can be damaging and used against you.
Do not rely on assurances from the FBI that speaking to them will be beneficial for you. Regardless of what the agent may tell you, remaining silent is not a crime except in limited situations where you are required to identify yourself.
If the FBI agent says that they have a warrant for your arrest, you may see the warrant. You are required to go with the agent, but you do not have to answer questions until you speak to an attorney.
You also have the right to remain silent if you are detained. Ask to speak to an attorney.
You are not required to permit the FBI into your home unless they possess a warrant. Ask the agent to see the warrant.
If the agent does not possess a warrant, tell the agent that you are not granting permission for entry and do not allow them in. Do not stop or interfere with the FBI if they force their way in.
In all cases, write down the name and telephone number of any agent who contacts you. Speaking to an attorney can help assure that your rights are protected in these encounters.