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Issues Relating to Third-Party Warrants

White Collar Criminal Defense By Harvey Binnall PLLC - 2019/01/31 at 02:12pm

In many white collar criminal investigations, third parties who are not accused of criminal violations may nonetheless be roped in by prosecutors and subjected to broad “fishing expeditions” in an effort to gather evidence for the case at-hand.  For example, if a business and its agents have been accused of engaging in insider trading, prosecutors may attempt to secure customer information (i.e., online tracking data) from service providers who engaged with the defendants.

As a third-party, the smooth operation of your business could be significantly impacted by prosecutorial attempts to secure evidence, whether in the form of a subpoena or search warrant.  Compliance may be quite expensive, and further, your customers’ privacy could be violated by a broad fishing expedition — prosecutors may ask for more than they actually require, thus exposing innocent customers to unnecessary government probing.

Minimizing the Negative Business Impact

If prosecutorial authorities are attempting to “fish” for evidence by probing your business, then you need not resign yourself to their interference.  Warrants may be challenged on the basis that they lack probable cause to justify the intrusion.  Further, the search warrant may not be narrowly-tailored to the actual needs of prosecutors.  If the warrant is over-broad or otherwise excessive in scope, then the warrant may be challenged on that basis.

In some cases, prosecutorial authorities will attach a gag order to the search warrant or subpoena to prevent you from communicating to others about the requests being made of your business.  This can put you in a vulnerable position with customers, who may value your transparency in other contexts.  Gag orders can fortunately be challenged on free speech grounds, though it may not be possible to eliminate the prohibition on communication altogether — instead, a revised gag order with more narrowly-tailored prohibitions might be negotiated.

Contact an Experienced Alexandria White Collar Defense Attorney for Comprehensive Assistance

Harvey & Binnall, PLLC is a boutique white collar criminal defense firm operating out of Alexandria, VA and serving clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. metro region.  We have significant experience representing white collar criminal defendants, as well as business entities who may not have been accused of or charged with a crime, but who are being investigated in connection with a white collar violation, nonetheless.

Unlike many of our competitors, we believe that effective legal representation must be comprehensive in nature.  We take the time to engage with each of our clients and to fully understand their business, giving us the insight necessary to guide them through a fishing expedition with minimal exposure to liability (and minimal business impacts).

If you’d like to speak with a skilled Alexandria white collar defense attorney at Harvey & Binnall, PLLC about your legal concerns, we encourage you to call 703-888-1943 or request an appointment online