Can New Jersey Businesses Prepare for a Search Warrant?
July 14, 2016
Are you doing everything you can to prepare for a search warrant?
While prosecutors generally use grand jury subpoenas to gather evidence of white-collar crimes, search warrants are also employed in some cases. Although search warrants are more difficult to obtain, they allow prosecutors immediate access to documents and largely avoid the risk that records or other evidence will be destroyed. This is why it is imperative to prepare for a search warrant.
Of course, for those on the receiving end of a search warrant, the sudden appearance of federal or state agents can be a frightening prospect. While the FBI normally appears in business dress, they have been known to arrive in battle fatigues with weapons drawn.
Steps you can take in order to prepare for a search warrant
Thankfully, there are steps that New Jersey businesses can take to ensure that they are prepared should law enforcement officials come knocking. Having an educated staff with explicit written procedures in place is the best defense to an unexpected search warrant.
- Educate employees: Every company should advise its employees that they have no obligation to speak with investigators, but should in no way interfere with their doing so. Interference in the investigation by the company could lead to obstruction of justice charges, or worse. Employees should be encouraged to be polite, and truthful, and be told that the company will pay for separate legal counsel should the need arise.
- Create an Internal Response Policy: All companies should develop an Internal Response Policy to be included in their operations manuals. A point person should be assigned, who will coordinate all activities related to the raid, including the flow of information. The team should consist of a senior manager appointed as team coordinator, a back-up team coordinator, and other members as appropriate. The written policy should contain the phone numbers and addresses of the response team members, including in-house and outside counsel.
Other Response Team Responsibilities
- Contact counsel immediately
- Make a list of areas searched and items seized
- Accompany agents to every location searched
- Videotape search if possible
- Obtain agents’ business cards
- Inquire regarding prosecutor assigned to the investigation
- Coordinate interviews
This article is number two in a two-part series.
Part one, “What To Do While Under Federal Investigation” can be found here: (https://scarincihollenbeck.com/what-to-do-while-under-federal-investigation/)
Otherwise, if you have any questions regarding the matter, please contact me, Bob Levy.