While contact from a police officer does not always mean you are under investigation for violating the law, there are times when you should be prepared for. As a criminal attorney explains, there may be ways to know if you are under criminal investigation.
Before explaining how a criminal investigation takes place, it is important for you to understand the types of crimes you could be charged with in Arizona. A misdemeanor is usually a lesser crime and punishable by up to six months in county jail.
These cases are normally handled by lower courts. Felonies are punishable with time in the state prison. Although the case may initially be heard in a lower court, they may end up in a Superior Court hearing. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors.
A pre-arrest investigation begins as soon as the crime is committed and your initial interview with the police will be part of that crime investigation. You should always request a criminal defense attorney to be present for an interview, in order to protect your rights.
Anything you tell the police during that initial interview will be used during the investigation. During this interview, the questions asked may indicate that you could face criminal charges. If the officer asks specific questions about the crime or what you were doing at the time, that could mean you are a significant part of or suspect of a criminal investigation.
If they ask you to provide the names and phone numbers of the people you were with during the crime or if they ask about your drug and alcohol use, this is another sign that you may be under investigation.
If the police contact you and ask you to come in to answer questions, it’s very important to contact an attorney prior to the interview. It’s very possible that the police simply need to clarify some information and you may not be the subject of the investigation.
An attorney can accompany you to the interview and advise you how to conduct yourself and what questions to answer and which ones you should not, in order to avoid any possibility of incriminating yourself.
In some cases, the police will not interview you first. If they receive information that you have evidence of a crime in your home, they may request a search warrant from a judge. If they arrive at your door with the warrant, it’s highly likely that you are under investigation.
Officers often obtain search warrants before an interview when they are concerned that questioning a suspect could lead to destruction of evidence. If they execute a search warrant, they are hoping to find the evidence before it is destroyed. They will then use that evidence in your questioning.
If your business is under investigation, you may learn of the probe when you are served a subpoena for records. Like a search warrant, you must comply with the officers and provide them with the records included in the subpoena. Although you do not have to answer questions during a police interview, search warrants and subpoenas cannot be ignored. It’s suggested that you have an attorney present to ensure the police do not take records not included in the subpoena.
There are many ways that law enforcement may let you know you are under investigation. Sometimes you learn through “word on the street” that the police have been asking questions. There are also times that federal investigators reach out to you by mail and ask you to “come in for questioning”. No matter how a law enforcement agency reaches out to you, it is imperative that you protect your rights by hiring a criminal attorney. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience, can help. Even if you have not been arrested, Robert will help you develop an aggressive defense, guide you through the complicated judicial process and give you a complete understanding of what charges you may be facing. If you believe you are under investigation or have been arrested for a crime, contact Robert by calling (480) 860-4321, emailing Robert@AZCrimLaw.com. or fill out the easy online form to arrange for a no obligation consultation.