Federal investigations feel like they take forever. Agents come, they talk to you, perhaps they execute a search warrant or send a grand jury subpoena to your business. There’s a great flurry of activity. You hire a lawyer, then circle your wagons.
You’d like to know how long this can take.
The hard part is that, generally speaking, you’re waiting for something bad to happen. Many United States Attorney’s Offices do not let you know that they’ve decided not to go forward with criminal charges. The policies vary by office, but, generally speaking, the way you find out that you’re no longer under investigation is that the statute of limitations runs.
Or, worse, you find out that you’re no longer under investigation because the government brings criminal charges against you.
The Statute of Limitations For Federal Crimes
And, unfortunately, many federal crimes are also state crimes. So, if you’re out of the woods with the feds, what they’re investigating may also be able to be prosecuted by a state prosecutor. Normally that doesn’t happen – state prosecutors tend to not be interested in the same kinds of cases that federal prosecutors are – but sometimes a federal prosecutor who feels angry can get state attention to a case.
All of this is to say that if you’re worried about a federal investigation, and you’re hoping you get an all clear sign, you may, unfortunately, have to wait a while.
Probably the best sign that you are not going to be indicted – that the investigation is over – is when the AUSA who was working the case moves on. Either to another job, another office, or some other kind of case. It isn’t iron clad, but it gives you a sense that you probably are moving farther out of danger.