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Target Letter

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

Jurisdiction to prosecute the case within the federal criminal justice system can occur because 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 will advise you that you are the target of a Federal Grand Jury investigation into criminal violations.

The target letter notifies you that the United States Attorney’s Office is prepared to proceed before a Federal Grand Jury to seek charges against you.

The letter will often say that before the United State Attorney’s Office proceeds to bring these formal charges against you, the federal prosecutor would like to discuss the matter with you and your attorney. The letter will invite you or your attorney to contact the federal prosecutor as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

The letter will also say that if the federal prosecutor does not hear from you or your attorney by a certain date, that the federal prosecutor will assume 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 very 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, then 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 right now to protect yourself against a false or exaggerated accusation.

Call 813-250-0500.


Additional Resources

Sample Target Letter – Visit the website of the United States Department of Justice 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 in order to provide helpful background information about the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury consists of from sixteen to twenty-three persons who inquire into federal crimes which may have been committed in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. A witness may be asked to testify and answer questions, and to 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 to the question would tend to incriminate you. If you have retained a criminal defense attorney, who represents you personally, 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 Friday, March 15, 2019.

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