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What to do when the FBI contacts you

When sons and daughters go AWOL from the military, parents frequently have feelings of both relief and distress. Although more than willing to help their children, they worry about the consequences of their loved ones “hiding out” in their homes. Many telephone calls and requests for advice come in from parents in this situation wanting to know if it is legal for them to let their children stay or hide out at home; is it dangerous for their other children; and, whether they have to answer questions coming from either military or federal authorities. Are they, in effect, aiding and abetting, their children in illegal activities?

The first rule is to NEVER LIE to federal authorities. You do not have to answer their questions, however, whether they call on the phone or whether they show up at your front door. ALWAYS refer the police, sheriffs, MPs, FBI officers to your lawyer. Again, do not answer any questions. Give them the name and phone number of your lawyer.

You are not under any obligation to turn your child in or hand them over to the police, mps, FBI, or sheriffs. You are under no obligation to explain anything to them.

We know from experience that not to answer a federal official is difficult. They are big and imposing. They are good at making you feel guilty. Practice saying: “Please contact my lawyer. Her phone number is …” over and over again with family members and in front of a mirror. If you don’t have an attorney, ask the marshals or police for a business card and explain that your lawyer will contact them. If you ever do get a lawyer, tell them about the marshals.