What Is A Target Letter?

Are you curious to know what is a target letter? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a target letter in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a target letter?

Legal proceedings can often be complex and overwhelming, especially when individuals find themselves involved in investigations or potential criminal charges. One crucial document that may come into play during such situations is a target letter. In this blog, we will shed light on the target letter, its significance, and what individuals should know if they receive one.

What Is A Target Letter?

A target letter is a formal notification issued by federal prosecutors to inform an individual that they are the target of a criminal investigation. The letter typically outlines the nature of the investigation, the specific offenses under scrutiny, and informs the recipient that they may be charged with a crime.

Purpose And Key Components:

  1. Notification: The primary purpose of a target letter is to provide formal notice to the recipient that they are the target of a criminal investigation. It serves as a signal that the individual’s actions or involvement in a particular matter are under scrutiny.
  2. Investigation Details: The target letter may include information about the nature and scope of the investigation, including the specific offenses or violations being examined. It may also mention any key individuals or organizations connected to the investigation.
  3. Legal Representation: The letter typically advises the recipient to seek legal representation promptly. It emphasizes the recipient’s right to an attorney and highlights the importance of securing legal counsel to navigate the legal process effectively.
  4. Grand Jury Proceedings: In some cases, a target letter may indicate that the investigation will be presented to a grand jury. This means that the prosecutors intend to seek an indictment against the individual based on the evidence presented.

Important Considerations:

  1. Confidentiality: Upon receiving a target letter, it is crucial to maintain confidentiality and refrain from discussing the investigation or sharing the letter’s contents with anyone other than your attorney. Premature disclosure could potentially harm your legal position or compromise the investigation.
  2. Legal Counsel: Seeking legal representation is paramount upon receiving a target letter. An experienced attorney specializing in criminal defense can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and provide advice on how to respond appropriately to the investigation.
  3. Cooperation and Defense Strategy: Your attorney will help you determine the best course of action based on the circumstances of the case. This may involve cooperating with investigators or, depending on the situation, asserting your rights and mounting a defense to protect your interests.
  4. Potential Outcomes: It is essential to understand that receiving a target letter does not automatically mean that charges will be filed against you. The letter signifies that you are under investigation, but it does not indicate guilt or imminent legal action. The ultimate outcome will depend on various factors, including the evidence gathered during the investigation.


Receiving a target letter can be a daunting experience, signaling that you are the subject of a federal criminal investigation. However, it is crucial to approach the situation with caution and seek competent legal counsel to guide you through the process. A target letter is not a guarantee of imminent charges, but it does indicate the need for proactive steps to protect your rights and mount an effective defense. By understanding the purpose and components of a target letter, you can make informed decisions and navigate the legal proceedings with confidence.

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What Target Letter Means?

“A target letter is issued when the [DOJ] wants to communicate to a person’s lawyers that they are about to be prosecuted criminally,” she added.

Does A Target Letter Mean You Will Be Indicted?

After Getting a Letter

A target letter is not a formal charge of a crime. You don’t face arrest for anything based on the document alone. In fact, some people who receive target letters never face charges for a crime. The target letter makes you aware that you will most likely get indicted in the future.

What Happens After A Target Letter?

A target letter typically asks the recipient to do something. Some letters will request the recipient to testify before a grand jury, and some may advise the recipient to obtain an attorney and have them call the prosecutor to talk about the case.

What Is A Target Letter From The Feds?

As its name suggests, a target letter is a notice from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal prosecutor that you are the target of a criminal investigation. Target letters contain information on the crime being investigated, and they include instructions on what they expect you to do next.


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