Target Letter

Most criminal offenses are prosecuted in state court. Nevertheless, the federal government also has jurisdiction to prosecute a wide range of misdemeanor and felony offenses in federal court.

Jurisdiction to prosecute the case within the federal criminal justice system occurs for any of the following reasons:

  • the crime impacts interstate commerce;
  • the crime happened on land owned by the federal government; or
  • the allegations involve a loss or harm to the federal government.

Many federal cases begin with a letter to the target of a federal criminal investigation (often called the “target letter”) from the United States Attorney’s Office. The letter comes from an Assistant United States Attorney explaining that”

You are the target of a Federal Grand Jury investigation concerning criminal violations related to these specific statutes:_______, or related offenses.

The United States is prepared to proceed before a Federal Grand Jury to seek charges against you. Before we proceed to bring these formal charges against, we would like to explore with you whether this matter can be resolved short of indictment.

Please contact me as soon as possible so that we may discuss this matter.

If we do not hear from you on or before [a specific date]. we shall assume that you do not wish to discuss the matter and will proceed accordingly.

Act quickly to present exculpatory evidence and mitigation to the federal investigators and the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) assigned to the case. Letting your attorney advocate on your behalf during the early stages of the investigation often leads to the best results.

Attorney for Federal Criminal Investigations in Tampa, FL

If you received a target letter from a prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida, contact a federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

During the initial consultation, we can discuss your case and what you might need to do to protect yourself against a false or exaggerated accusation.

If you wish to resolve the case by taking responsibility, your federal criminal defense attorney can help you negotiate the best terms. Your attorney can work with the AUSA to negotiate the Information, Plea Agreement, Waiver of Indictment, Financial Disclosure Statement, Individual Declaration as to Payment of Special Assessment Upon Conviction; and Acknowledgment of Plea Offer.

Call 813-250-0500.

Additional Resources

Sample Target Letter – Visit the United States Department of Justice website to find a sample target letter in the criminal resource manual. The letter is sent to a witness scheduled to appear before the federal Grand Jury to provide helpful background information about the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury consists of sixteen to twenty-three persons who inquire into federal crimes that may have been committed in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. Witnesses may be asked to testify, answer questions, and produce records and documents. If you are the target of the Grand Jury’s investigation, you may refuse to answer any question if a truthful answer would tend to incriminate you. Suppose you have retained a criminal defense attorney who represents you personally. In that case, the Grand Jury will permit you a reasonable opportunity to step outside the Grand Jury room and confer with counsel if you desire.

This article was last updated on Monday, May 22, 2023.