A Civil Investigative Demand (CID) allows government investigators to collect evidence for a federal investigation. If you have received a CID, the document may request information, documents, and other evidence pertinent to the prosecution’s case.
Furthermore, the prosecution can use the CID before a formal proceeding begins, which makes this a powerful tool.
If you have received a CID, you must respond. However, the way in which you respond is critical. Proper steps must be followed, so it is of utmost importance that you understand and comply with the expected procedure.
The Proper Steps to Responding to a CID
Reacting correctly to your CID is important at this stage in the investigation. Therefore, you must follow these steps:
Contact an Attorney
Do not respond to a CID without speaking with an attorney. Receiving a CID means that the government is investigating you directly or they are investigating someone that you know.
Responding quickly with the information requested, without consulting an attorney, could put you or someone you know in a bad position regarding their investigation. Sometimes, providing witness information could result in you becoming the center of the investigation as well.
Therefore, you need an attorney to protect you from saying too much, wording things badly (and being subject to misinterpretation), or accidentally incriminating yourself.
Save All Documentation
Avoid any allegations of obstruction of justice by holding onto all documents, including electronic ones. Steps to avoid accidentally deleting critical evidence includes:
- Turning off auto-delete features on emails.
- Leaving voicemails in the inbox.
- Ensuring all document storage, including online, does not automatically purge anything.
- You and your staff should not shred any tangible documents, including paper files.
- Do not destroy or remove text messages on smartphones.
- Do not remove history on your laptop and desktop computers.
Review the CID – Know What You are Being Asked
Most CIDs are broad in scope. This is done on purpose so that you will provide more evidence than necessary.
Review the document carefully and consult with your attorney to see specifically what documents you must provide to the prosecution. Also, realize that it will take time and staff to gather the evidence requested – so it’s important to take your time to prepare the allocation of staff and time.
While you might not be able to provide the evidence immediately for the CID, you still must respond and let the prosecution know that you have received the request. Then, your attorney can request an extension while you prepare the evidence requested.
Prepare with Caution
CIDs are time sensitive. But you still must prepare the evidence carefully – ensuring you do not provide more evidence than necessary to satisfy the prosecution’s request.
Make sure that you have prepared your evidence long before the deadline. The biggest mistake clients make is waiting until the last minute to prepare their documents and evidence packages.
If you need other staff members to supply evidence, such as IT staff to draw logs, then you should give them adequate notice. Giving them enough time will enable them to collect the necessary information while keeping up with their regular job duties – otherwise, your day-to-day business could suffer.
Consult with an Attorney Experienced in CIDs
It is imperative that you speak to an attorney with experience handling CIDs. These are very serious requests from federal prosecutors and failing to respond appropriately could be detrimental.
An attorney protects you from self-incrimination but also protects you from finding yourself in contempt, or facing an obstruction of justice charge simply because you do not understand the CID process.