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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Your office is called the “U.S. Attorney’s Office.” Does that mean you represent individual U.S. citizens?

No, we do not represent individuals in litigation against other persons, companies, or government agencies. We represent the United States of America in criminal, civil and other proceedings.

2. What kind of cases does the U.S. Attorney's Office handle?

This office prosecutes federal criminal cases in the Western District of North Carolina. In addition, the U.S. Attorney's Office defends the United States in civil suits brought against it, and brings civil cases to recover money for taxpayers, preserve the environment, and ensure citizen's civil rights.

3. What are federal crimes?

There are many federal crimes. Some federal crimes involve narcotics, bank robbery, fraudulent activity that affects interstate commerce, wire fraud, mail fraud or tax fraud, any crime in which the United States is defrauded, guns, environmental crimes, and civil rights violations. Some crimes may violate both state and federal laws, such as bank robbery. In these cases, the U.S. Attorney's Office works closely with state and local law enforcement officials to to determine whether a case will be brought in federal or state court.

4. Does the U.S. Attorney's Office Investigate Crimes?

Investigations are generally conducted by federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Postal Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and others. We also frequently take cases from state and local agencies. The U.S. Attorney's Office works with those agencies to provide direction and legal counsel in federal criminal investigations.

5. I need to contact a federal agency other than the Department of Justice. Can you tell me how?

If the agency has a local office, you can find its number in the blue pages of the telephone book. If not or if you need to contact an agency’s Washington, D.C. office, call the Federal Information Center toll-free at 800-688-9889.

6. How do I report a federal crime?

Federal crimes are investigated by many agencies. Here are just a few of the federal agencies which investigate federal crimes and their local contact numbers.

BATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
704-716-1800

DEA - Drug Enforcement Administration
704-770-2050

U. S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations(ICE-HSI)
704-679-6140

U.S. Secret Service
704-442-8370

FBI
704-672-6100

IRS
800-829-1040

USDA Forest Service
828-257-4200

Environmental Protection Agency
404-562-9900

U.S. Postal Inspection Service
704-329-9120

7. Can you suggest someone who could represent me?

We cannot make attorney referrals. A person seeking legal advice is advised to seek their own legal help, which may include Legal Aid, Bar Association and other entities across Western North Carolina which can assist an individual in finding appropriate help in their legal situation. Consider consulting the State Bar of North Carolina’s website (http://www.ncbar.org/) or the North Carolina Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service website (http://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service).

8. Can you refer me to a Federal Public Defender?

You may contact the Federal Public Defender's Office for the Western District of North Carolina at 704-374-0720.

9. Where can I get information about the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The U.S. Department of Justice provides free ADA materials. The ADA Information Hotline is 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

A list of ADA materials available from the Department of Justice is listed at www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/publicat.htm.

You can file an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint alleging disability discrimination against a state or local government or a public accommodation (including, for example, a restaurant, doctor’s office, retail store, hotel, etc.) by mail or e-mail.

To learn more about filing an ADA complaint, visit www.ada.gov/fact_on_complaint.htm.

To file an ADA complaint, you may fill out this form www.ada.gov/t2cmpfrm.htm and mail or fax the form to:

US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section – 1425 NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
Fax: (202) 307-1197

You may also file a complaint by e-mail at ADA.complaint@usdoj.gov.

10. I need a copy of Federal Tort Claim Form 95. Can you send me a copy?

Claim forms can be obtained from the federal agency to which you are going to submit the claim form.

11. I want to find out what has happened to a defendant who has been sentenced to prison as a result of one of your cases?

The United States Bureau of Prisons website has a section called “Inmate Locator” on the left side of the page. By typing in a name and other information, you can find out how long an inmate is serving, where the inmate is housed, and a brief description of the location and picture of the institution. IIf an inmate has been released, the website will often give a date of release. www.bop.gov

12. How can I find out about some of the cases your office has handled?

You can locate recent cases on this website by following the “News” link. A number of cases each week are highlighted and described in detail in the news releases, which are sent out to dozens of media outlets in North Carolina. Citizens can often find out details about large scale cases, and other cases which directly affect the community. You can also follow us on Twitter @WDNCnews.

13. Does your office report to the “Attorney General”?

Our office operates within the authority of the Department of Justice, headed by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder. We are not connected to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. For state matters, please call the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office at 919- 716-6400.

14. What is the difference between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the District Attorney's (D.A.'s) Office?

The U.S. Attorney's Office represents the United States in federal cases, including all federal criminal cases. These cases are heard in any of the four federal courthouses in the District: in Charlotte, in Statesville, in Asheville and in Bryson City. The D.A.'s Office, by contrast, prosecutes state crimes, not federal crimes.

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