In televisions and movies, the suspect almost always knows the police are investigating them and act accordingly. But in real life, things are rarely so obvious and in many cases, the police informally question the suspect in order to get him or her to talk without making them realize they should have a criminal defense lawyer. In fact, you may not know that you are under investigation for weeks or even months before you are ever actually arrested and while it’s critical you work with an attorney after you have been arrested, working with one while you are under investigation can greatly help your case. Here are some signs to look for to help you know you are under investigation by the police.
Police Have Come to Talk to You
Many people think that if the police come to talk to them about a crime and haven’t arrested them or read them their Miranada rights that they must be being interviewed as a potential witness. In fact, this is actually one of the main ways police identify their suspects and if they have come to question you about a crime, there’s a good chance you’re on their list of potential suspects. If you talk to them, it does not matter that you haven’t been read your rights or told you’re a suspect -anything you say can be used against you.
Remember, if you are being investigated for a crime, the time to consult a lawyer is before talking to the police. Many people mistakenly think they can persuade the police they have done nothing wrong or can explain their conduct. As soon as you become aware that the police want to talk to you, you should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer -even if you are innocent and want to assist the investigation.
You Notice Strange People Trying to Get Near You
If you see police cars, whether marked or unmarked, near your home all the time when they weren’t before, there’s a good chance they’re investigating someone -and that someone could be you. Alternatively, if strangers have been approaching you or your friends or family members to ask questions, particularly about crimes. In some cases, these people may be informants or undercover police officers. You might also notice that you’ve been getting strange calls, texts or friend requests from total strangers or people you haven’t talked to in years. If you notice anyone has suddenly started trying to get into your life or seems to be following you, you might want to ask your attorney about them.
There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest
To obtain a warrant for your arrest, police typically go to the prosecutors to present their case. If the prosecutors decide to file a case against you, they can then go to a judge to get an arrest warrant. The arrest warrant signals the investigation is complete enough for the police and prosecutors to believe you are guilty of a crime. It also typically means the charges have already been filed in court against you.
On the other hand, a search warrant for your home and or business is an indication the police believe you are a viable suspect and there will be evidence of a crime collected if they search your property. A search warrant for your DNA can also be issued and that means you are a suspect in a crime, typically sexual assault. Only a judge can issue a search or arrest warrant.
Whether you have been named in a search or arrest warrant, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can help you protect your reputation by quietly surrendering to the police on an arrest warrant, and protect your rights during the execution of a search warrant.
You Receive a Target Letter
While police do not always notify you that you are under investigation, in some cases, you may receive a target letter notifying you that you are the subject of investigation. This is a sign that there is already a good amount of evidence against you, and that you should contact a defense lawyer immediately to protect your rights during the duration of the investigation. The target letter will also often tell you that you are expected to meet the prosecutor to talk, which you should absolutely not do without an attorney present.
What to do When You Are Under Investigation
If you know you are under investigation by the police, remember that police can and do lie during investigations and that cooperating will often not help you, but only hurt your case. Learn, memorize and always invoke your rights when dealing with the police. Never speak to the police without your lawyer present and never consent to a warrantless search of your property. Call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss today by calling (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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