Are you under a criminal investigation? Here’s what to do.
Sometimes, despite our best effort and intentions, we may find ourselves on the wrong side of the law.
Having a federal agent or a detective knocking on your door, making repeated calls, or getting in touch with your family, friends and colleagues and asking questions about you, is intimidating and frightening.
Most of the time, the person under the investigation becomes confused and doesn’t know how to react. Besides, if the police start questioning you about your association with specific criminal investigations, consider yourself a suspect. However, law enforcement will not make any arrest until they finish conducting an in-depth investigation.
Anytime a federal agent or police officer calls you to an inquiry, it’s advisable to hire an experienced criminal lawyer. It’s also advisable to take note of what you do and say to protect yourself from sounding guilty or making statements that may lead to criminal charges.
How do you know if you are under a criminal investigation?
Notable signs of a person under police investigation include:
A call from the police or federal agent may not be a conclusive sign, but it’s the first step to show that an officer is pursuing a criminal case or investigation. If they ask you to come to the police station and make a statement, that is a red flag.
Police contacts your partner, relatives, friends, and co-workers
If the cops start talking to people connected to you, this signifies them trying to gather more information about your life.
You notice unmarked or police vehicles following you, near your business and home
Law enforcement officers can quickly survey you and gather more evidence by tracking your every step; from home to work to social events. Sometimes, they keep your life under surveillance with the presence of more police patrol cars in your neighborhood. They may also follow you with unmarked vehicles.
If you are under a criminal investigation, here’s what to do
- Stay Calm
When you realize the police are investigating you, your first reaction may be panic and shock. You may decide to rush out to the police station to explain yourself, try to destroy any evidence or even threaten those who may testify against you. Letting fear overwhelm you is highly inadvisable, since whatever you say or do may become your downfall.
Reacting rashly may enable the investigators to build a stronger case against you, thus, even if your heart is pounding heavily, your throat is itchy and dry, maintain a calm demeanor
2. Know your Rights
Knowing your rights is vital when under criminal investigation. Every person has the right to:
- Remain silent
You have the right to choose to talk to the police or remain silent. The police don’t read the Miranda Warning until the person is being interrogated or in custody. When the police question you on the street, at home, or in the station, you have the right not to answer their questions. Exercise that right. However, it’s mandatory to answer simple identification questions.
- Have an attorney
Every person has a right to a lawyer before police questioning. Having a lawyer present during police interrogation is invaluable in gathering vital information on the case. Sometimes, if the evidence is limited, the police may drop the questioning entirely if you obtain legal counsel
3. Hire a Lawyer
When hiring a lawyer, find an experienced Texas criminal lawyer who has handled similar cases and is willing to pursue the case to the trial. Some lawyers like plea bargains instead of court cases. It’s also vital to get an attorney you can trust. Since you may choose to discuss personal issues, be honest even when the truth is embarrassing.
4. Beware of the Police Tactics
Police have different tactics that may lead a person to a confession during an interrogation. It is advisable to be aware of these tactics and avoid incriminating yourself, by waiting for your lawyer before saying anything during an interrogation.
5. Learn everything about the crime or case
If you come under investigation, find out everything about the offense. Having a lawyer helping you is advisable but arming yourself with information is valuable and empowering. Once you learn about the police evidence and your potential charges, you and your attorney can start working on a defense strategy.
6. Remember details
Try to remember any detail, regardless of how small it may be, about your interaction with the police. Write down every question and details of your answer soon after interrogation. In case the police violated your rights, the details may come in handy during the court case.
7. Don’t talk to potential witnesses
If you are under a criminal investigation, you may feel anxious and angry, it is human to react when threatened. It’s also tempting to talk to potential witnesses and try to clarify things. Talking to witnesses can lead to additional criminal charges of witness tampering, that carry stiff penalties and land you in even hotter water. In case you feel a witness may have useful information, let your lawyer handle the process.
Whether guilty or innocent, being under criminal investigation is unnerving and stressful. It can lead a person to do foolish, rash things with the hope of making the investigation go away. However, the best hope for a good outcome is to keep your wits about you and find an experienced criminal lawyer to guide and help you throughout the investigation. Although lawyers don’t provide guarantees, they increase your chances of sailing throughout the investigation unscathed. For an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Denton, Texas, call the Law office of Patty A. Tress on 972-325-1758.