I never expected the FBI to knock on my door.
“Holly, someone is in the lobby for you,” how strange I thought, because I didn’t have any appointments and it was rare someone would just pop into my office. I walked into the lobby and noticed two attractive men, well-groomed and dressed fashionably in blue suits. Could this be my lucky day?
“Hello, I’m Holly,” reaching out to shake their hands. One man opened his jacket ever so slightly, and asked, “Is there a conference room we can move to?” He hands me his card, it says, FBI. My first thought was about my kids, I asked, “Are my kids okay?” “Is there a conference room we can sit”?
The office had several conference rooms, but what kind of room is appropriate when the FBI knocks at your door?” Is a conference room for real estate clients different than a conference room for the FBI? Windows or no windows? View of parking lot or no view at all? Coffee cart or is bottled water fine? Why is the FBI knocking at my door, in the first place? Should I care? I didn’t do anything. My heart was pounding more than usual. Clearly, this FBI knock-knock was not on my bucket list. Why do they want to talk to me? Did someone do something wrong? Within a few steps from the lobby to the private conference room, my mind traveled to areas, unforeseen. After we walked in, I shut the door. I looked at them, they looked at me, I waited for someone to say something.
I was hoping they were here to buy real estate, but again, it was the FBI.
“We want to ask you a few questions.” I had nothing to hide, and didn’t mind helping, so I said, sure. After I answered their questions, I literally dropped dead after I heard the FBI say, “We suggest you hire a criminal attorney.” “What, why?!” Ask me whatever you want to know, why do I need a criminal attorney? They asked me a few more questions, but I didn’t know what they were talking about. As they stood up to leave they reiterated, for me to hire a criminal attorney.
I walked them to the lobby and then I thought to myself, “A criminal attorney?”
I never knew how I would react to shock, but it was odd. I drifted back to my personal office, and sat at my desk. I had work, I needed to finish. This was not the time to abandon my responsibilities. It was as if I was in slow motion, reminding myself to breathe. Knowing I hadn’t died, but consciously aware I was not present in my body. I was living a life at my desk, lost in calculating what had happened. “Holly, get a grip, you are not a criminal.”
Needing help, direction, comfort, a stiff drink, a vacation, and wanting to disappear, I went to speak with my manager. She remained calm as a cucumber and assured me everything would be all right. She began sharing stories and experiences she had gone through, explaining how she and her husband had suffered, but came out on the other side. I was struck by her vulnerability and honesty but I suppose knowing I had personal troubles made it easier for her to share hers. She kindly gave me a handful of attorneys to contact, criminal attorneys.
I went home immediately, but don’t remember driving there. Sitting at my computer, the search began. What do you look for in a criminal attorney? This was a new experience, I was nauseated.
The first appointment with my new defense attorney was horrible. I felt as if I was a criminal, why else would I have a criminal attorney?
“OMG, I hired a criminal attorney.” “Who does that?” “Criminals!”
The unexpected visit by the FBI, is not one I will ever forget. Today, I still feel the aftershock of that traumatic experience.
When it happened, I was not thinking about “my rights.”
My best advice is to seek council, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! http://www.mirandarights.org/righttoremainsilent.html