ATF or Federal Agents at my Door! What do I do?
Hello everyone my name is Joseph Radzwion IV, Your Trusted Attorney with Radzwion Law, PLLC, and in this post we are answering a question that is being asked all across the United states right now and that is; “what do I do if a federal agent is at my door?” or “The ATF is at my door, what do I do?”
If you haven’t heard, federal agents are going door to door and they're asking law abiding citizens to turn over items that the citizen had purchased in the past. When the citizen made the purchase in the past, the item was legal but now because the federal agencies have “redefine the way that they interpret the law and redefine the terms that were already defined they now are deeming these items to be illegal.” Item’s such as forced, reset triggers, (FRTs) or solvent traps for your personal protection devices.
The consequences of possessing one of these now “redefined illegal” items are going to be a federal offense that can result in a 10 year prison sentence. So when we talk about these situations it's always advisable to speak with an attorney that understands your rights and understands what the law is.
This is nothing to take lightly. Your freedom is ALWAYS at stake.
Scenario #1: ATF is at my door with a Search Warrant
I have a federal agent (ATF agent) at my door and they have a search warrant what do I do? This is a fairly straightforward answer. The answer is you don't fight with the agent at your door and you don’t try to fight the warrant there. The time to fight against the warrant will be later on in court.
What actions is a citizen able to take? Well, we advise our clients to assert their rights by saying “I'm not answering any questions, I would like to speak to my lawyer.” Then we instruct our clients to call us.
Also, we tell our clients that they are not required to consent or voluntarily give up information. Whether that information is in their computer’s hard drive, or gun safe.
Scenario #2: ATF is at my door without a Search Warrant
I have the ATF at my doorstep and they do not have a search warrant what do I do? Remember the only lawful way they can enter your house is with either a search warrant (which in this scenario, they don’t have) or by asking for consent to come in.
Typically, it goes like this, knock knock knock I'm a federal agent do you mind if we come in and check out the items you have? The appropriate response we advise our clients to give is: “No you are not coming in my house without a warrant, I don't consent to searches and seizures, please leave my property.”
Remember the agents must have a search warrant or your consent in order to come into your home. It's not being rude if you assert your rights. When a citizen says “please leave the property I do not consent to any searches or seizures” that cannot be used against them in court and it cannot be used to show a citizen is hiding evidence. It is a citizen protecting themselves by asserting their rights which is much easier to do then fighting off criminal charges in court.
If the agents are asking questions we advise our clients to say “I will cooperate with you after I speak with my lawyer.” Another phrase is “I'm not going to answer those questions I'm going to remain silent.”
Scenario #3: ATF Sent Me a Letter in the Mail
The other possibility is the ATF sends a letter in the mail that says “hello, you purchased one of these newly re-redefined illegal items, can you please bring it down to the field office.” The letter might also say, “just in case you purchased one of these items we can answer any questions that you have so give us a call at 1-800-GO-TO-JAIL.
We advise all of our clients not to bring any items to the field office and do not call the agents with “questions.” Remember if a citizen were to walk in with that “illegal” item, that evidence is enough for a felony charge under federal law.
So don't incriminate yourself. Don't call the ATF and ask questions. Don’t walk into a field office with a FRT or Solvent Trap. Use wise judgment and exercise the fifth amendment right to remain silent. If you do end up down at their field office for whatever reason, ask to speak to your lawyer. P.S. now is the time to find a lawyer that will defend your freedom, not while you are in an interrogation room.
THINK LIKE A LAWYER TIP:
To invoke your fifth amendment right to remain silent, you actually have to say “I'm wish to remain silent” or “I invoke my right to remain silent.” One cannot just stand there and be quiet. The ATF (L.E.O.s) can continue to ask questions if you do not verbally assert the fifth amendment right. So, if they're asking questions, we advise our clients to say, “I'm not going to answer that question I'm going to remain silent.” Asserting this right cannot be used against you in court.
If the ATF has sent you a letter in the mail, you should be contacting a Trusted Attorney right away. They will help you determine the best course of action. Remember you have a Fourth Amendment right to refuse to any searches and seizures that the federal agents don't have a warrant for. You can also refuse to answer any questions under the Fifth Amendment saying “I wish to remain silent.” We also have that Sixth amendment protection of having an attorney present at all law enforcement questioning or interrogation.
When the ATF are at your door they are collecting evidence (verbal or physical) to use it against you in court. Anything you say will and it will and it will be used against you in court so keep your mouth shut if you value your freedom.
Why you should hire a Lawyer
Having an attorney at the ready give to do the talking is wise, because anything the attorney says cannot be used against you in court.