Under all circumstances, you should not speak with a federal agent without the presence of a lawyer. The best way to safeguard your rights and avoid FBI exploitation is to keep silent and get appropriate legal counsel.
There are several cases in which people have given statements to law enforcement officials and later been charged with crimes they did not commit. Sometimes these people admit their involvement after being told what happened to other suspects. In other cases, they may say something during an interview that leads officers to charge them with a crime. Either way, it can be very difficult for them to prove their innocence once they've spoken about the case.
If you choose to talk to officers from the FBI, you have the right to an attorney during any questioning. They will tell you that you are not required to speak with them or answer any questions if you wish to exercise this right. If they continue to question you even after you have said you want an attorney, then under no circumstances should you speak with them again.
It's also important to remember that anything you say can be used as evidence in court against you. Therefore, it's advisable to only speak with FBI agents when you truly need to. There are many other ways to obtain information from police officers without giving a statement, such as interviewing witnesses, searching through records, and more.
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ASKED OF YOU BY ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, INCLUDING THE FBI. You have the right to speak with an attorney at any time, and you have the right to stay silent at all times. Anything you say can be used as evidence in court.
There are several options for dealing with law enforcement inquiries, but not all situations are treated equally. Some options may not even be available depending on what type of investigation you're involved in. For example, if you were arrested for murder, you could not simply call someone you know at the FBI to ask whether there is a serial killer on the loose.
The first thing you should do if questioned by police is verify that you have the right to remain silent. This means that you must affirmatively tell the officer that you don't want to speak without a lawyer present. If you fail to do so, any statement you make can be used against you in court.
It is best to keep quiet unless you have something to say. It is important not to answer questions posed by officers who have no legal right to demand information from you. Even if you feel like talking, it's best to wait until you have an attorney present to determine how to act.
In the United States and its territories, FBI special agents have the authority to make arrests for any federal offense committed in their presence or when they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed, or is committing, a felony violation of United States laws. Arrests made by FBI special agents are typically conducted by other FBI employees or members of the local police department who are cooperating with the FBI.
An example condition that may lead an FBI agent to reasonably believe that a person has committed a felony is if that person is observed breaking into a building, ship, or vehicle. The agent could then make an arrest without first consulting a supervisor. However, not all crimes require the involvement of an FBI agent to make an arrest. For example, an FBI agent could arrest someone found with illegal drugs in their possession. In this case, the agent did not need to have reasonable grounds to believe that the drug offender had committed a felony because possession of drugs is a felony under state as well as federal law.
Once an FBI agent has decided to make an arrest, they will usually try to do so as soon as possible after seeing evidence of a crime. However, depending on the circumstances, they may have no choice but to wait until a more convenient time.