Pre-arrest and Arrest Warrant FAQs

Federal agents want to talk to me. What should I do?

If you think you might be the subject of a federal investigation, you should contact a criminal defense attorney before speaking with law enforcement agents or their representatives. You have a right to an attorney’s advice and counsel in any conversation with law enforcement agents. Your attorney should arrange all meetings or telephone contact with them. Even if you do not have an attorney, remind law enforcement representatives that you wish to have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, you should contact the Federal Public Defenders Office at (212) 417-8700 in Manhattan or (718) 330-1200 in Brooklyn. A Federal Public Defender will help you complete a financial affidavit to determine your eligibility for appointed counsel. This affidavit will accompany your request asking the court to provide you an attorney at no cost. Even if you believe you are only a witness in a federal investigation, you still have the option and the right to consult with an attorney and to refuse to speak with law enforcement.

I was served with a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. What do I do?

It is important to determine whether you are the subject of the grand jury investigation or just a witness providing evidence. The “subject” or “target” is anybody whom the government might charge with a crime as a result of the grand jury proceedings. Check the subpoena or your letter from the U. S. Attorney to see whether that office considers you a “subject” or “target” of the investigation. If you are the “subject” or “target” -- or even if you are uncertain but suspect you might be the “subject” or “target” of the grand jury investigation -- you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. You should not negotiate with the prosecutors or law enforcement agents by yourself. Have your defense attorney call the U. S. Attorney’s Office to identify the government’s interest in you. A criminal defense attorney can protect important rights for you, including your right against self incrimination, and may be able to successfully negotiate immunity in exchange for your testimony.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you should contact the Federal Public Defender’s Office at (212) 417-8700 in Manhattan or (718) 330-1200 in Brooklyn. A Federal Public Defender will help you complete a financial affidavit to determine your eligibility for appointed counsel. This affidavit will accompany your request asking the court to provide you an attorney at no cost.

There is a federal warrant for my arrest in the Southern District of New York or Eastern District of New York or another district. What should I do?

If you know that you have an outstanding federal warrant, you should consider surrendering to the United States Marshal's Office. Prior to your surrender, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney. If you are located within Manhattan, the Bronx, or other parts of the Southern District of New York, call the Federal Public Defender’s Office at (212) 417-8700. If you are located in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island or Long Island, call the Federal Public Defender in Brooklyn at (718) 330-1200. A Federal Public Defender can discuss with you your possible surrender to the United States Marshal. Choosing not to surrender can result in adverse consequences to your case and even additional criminal charges.