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What is a federal target letter? A target letter is a letter one would receive from a federal prosecutor (or assistant us attorney).

The target letter notifies the recipient about a number of things, including:

The recipient’s status as a target in a federal grand jury investigation
Crime or crimes that the recipient is suspected of committing

The recipient’s right to assert the Fifth Amendment
Information for obtaining court-appointed counsel

The Department of Justice customarily sends target letters to individuals who are the target of a grand jury investigation and to those who are the subject of a grand jury Federal Target Letter Attorney investigation. One is considered a target of the investigation when they are a person whom the U.S. attorney believes has "substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime," who has information that would be helpful to an investigation, and whose "conduct falls within the scope of the grand jury investigation."

If you receive a target letter, it's likely the government intends to charge you with a criminal offense. You can read a sample target letter on the U.S. Department of Justice website.

Hire an attorney that has experience with your case

The first step you should take if you have received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or a U.S. Attorney's Office is to immediately contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. The investigation against you may have just begun, or it may have been going on for months or years before you receive a letter alerting you that the government has pin-pointed you as a target or subject of a grand jury investigation. The prosecutor may be about to charge you or may not. The prosecutor knows these things, but you can not.

A federal target letter defense attorney from Birrell Criminal Defense can guide you through the entire federal criminal process. An experienced lawyer from our firm may be able to help you avoid the actual filing of criminal charges through negotiation with federal prosecutors, through counseling on how to respond to government inquiries or through limiting the invasive scope of a grand jury investigation.

At no point should you attempt without the benefit of counsel to explain your involvement in a potentially illegal scheme to federal agents or investigators. What you say will be used against you and that you will actually hurt your defense rather than help it. Before you take any steps, contact us to privately discuss your matter with the experienced members of the firm.

Our Federal Target Letter Defense Attorneys

Andrew Birrell


Ian Birrell


Have you recently received a Federal Target Letter?

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We have extensive trial and appellate experience and the good judgment such experience brings. We work hard for our defense clients. We are resourceful, tough, ethical, and committed to vigorously protecting our criminal defense clients’ best interests.

Our Federal Target Letter Lawyers are resourceful, tough, and committed to our clients’ interests, and we have the ability to keep the orders, verdicts and judgments we obtain on appeal.

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