Am I Being Investigated By the Police?
A police investigation can be an incredibly drawn-out process, as well as a stressful one if you are the one they are investigating. Unfortunately, there is no law that requires police to inform you that they are investigating you until a police officer has formally placed you under arrest. Due to this, several defendants do not know that they have been investigated for a crime until the police inform them that they are being arrested.
If you are the target of criminal investigations, this does not have to be your reality. There are several signs that you can pick up on from police officers to let you know that you might be the target of an investigation for a potential criminal case. If you spot any of the potential tells that law enforcement officers are looking into you, your best move is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance.
Am I Being Investigated By the Police?
In many cases, police will start contacting you or others in your inner circle as a first step in an investigation. It is important for you to remember that this does not necessarily mean that you are going to be charged with a crime. Just because you are investigated for a crime does not mean that police have enough evidence to charge you with a crime.
However, it is of the utmost importance that you remember your rights and act with caution when police or detectives are involved. Law enforcement officials have one goal in mind, gathering enough evidence to make an arrest. For that reason, it is imperative that you both pay attention to any signs of an investigation and instruct others around you to do the same. Learn how long you can be under investigation for here.
When the Police Contact You Directly
If police do contact you, you are under no obligation to speak to them. Even if police officers tell you that they only wish to talk with you and you are not in any trouble, you should not answer anything beyond the most basic of questions without an attorney present (see: what happens if I don’t talk to a detective, to learn more). Our legal system grants you the right to remain silent, even before you have been arrested, through the Fifth Amendment, and you should not hesitate to invoke your rights when necessary.
It is never a good idea to ignore the police if they request to speak to you, but it is also never a good idea to answer questions from police without an attorney present. If police start questioning you, politely, but firmly, tell them you will only answer questions with your attorney present, as is your right under the Fifth Amendment.
In some cases, police might come to your door and try to gain entrance to your home. The Fourth Amendment protects you from this as long as you don’t willfully allow them access to your domicile. If the police arrive at your doorstep, politely tell them you do not require their presence and ask them to leave. If police demand entry to your home, do not be rude, but do politely tell them that unless they have a search warrant, you will not open the door without your lawyer present.
What Should I Do if a Detective Contacts Me?
There is nothing that you can gain from speaking with a detective on your own. If a detective wants to talk to you, typically they are either investigating them for a crime or they think they can help them solve a crime because of specific information. Unless you know for a fact you were a witness to a crime (and even then, you should still proceed with caution and have a lawyer by your side for questioning), you should never speak to a detective without an attorney present. The more you say on your own, the more likely you are to say the wrong thing and give law enforcement a reason to suspect you.
As soon as you have had any contact with a police officer or a detective at all, you need to contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker for a free consultation. Nicole has worked on both sides of the courtroom, as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, and understands how to protect defendants from erroneous accusations, both inside the courtroom and when they are facing an interrogation at the police station.
Remember, most cases are won or lost long before the case ever goes to trial, and that often happens when you choose which lawyer will defend you against a state or federal prosecutor. Nicole’s experience in dealing with sex crimes can help you avoid incriminating statements and protect your freedom. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
What if Police Do Not Contact Me Directly?
There are plenty of other examples of potential red flags that signal an investigation. For example, if you notice a car in your neighborhood that does not look familiar and doesn’t leave its spot whenever you are home, that might be a sign that you’re being investigated by police. Police are allowed to sit in unmarked cars for as long as they wish, and it is possible that they could be looking for signs of you doing something suspicious or looking for anyone who might interact with you to gain information.
Police might also be looking for information through your messages. Law enforcement will need a warrant if your text message or e-mails were sent fewer than 180 days ago, but in the case of older messages, no warrant is necessary. Since investigations can take months or even years before they reach their conclusion, you should never send a non-encrypted email once you believe you are being investigated for a crime. If you are going to contact anyone who you think the police or a detective might try to contact, be sure to use an encryption service so that only your intended recipient gets the message.
When Might I Be the Target of a Federal Investigation?
On the subject of sex crimes, a state investigation by police becomes a federal investigation when there is reason to believe that your crime crossed state lines. For example, you might have downloaded a picture of someone from another state whom you believed to be of the age of consent, but was actually just under the legal age. In such a case, it is even more important to be careful with sensitive information and to contact a child pornography defense attorney, because a federal investigation likely means evidence will be presented to a grand jury.
If you believe you might be a target of a federal investigation in regards to a sex crime, contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker immediately. Federal sex crimes are always serious situations; and if the government is building evidence against you, you need to take proactive steps to protect your freedom well before you face criminal charges. The earlier you can begin building a strong attorney-client relationship with a criminal defense lawyer, the better off you will be if the federal government decides to accuse you of a crime.
Witness vs. Suspect
In some situations, you might think that you have done nothing wrong, but the police are investigating you because they think you might be a witness to a crime. No matter how innocent you are or feel, it is still not a good idea to speak to police without an attorney present. This is because you don’t have any way to know for sure why police want to speak to you.
Remember, the police do not have your interests in mind when they undertake criminal investigations. Their interest is in following the investigation and seeing if they have enough information in order for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction. If they do not have enough information to pursue a strong case against you, they will move on to another target.
That last bit gets some people to cooperate with police without a lawyer present, because they think that refusing to cooperate will help police build a case against them. However, that is not the case. When you get into the courtroom, neither the judge nor a grand jury will ever find out that you refused to cooperate after police contact.
Refusing to speak with either the police or a detective cannot be used against you in court, so do not make the mistake of waiving your rights because you think it will help your case. In almost all cases, speaking to law enforcement without a lawyer present can only harm your situation.
When Police Call You to a Location
One sure sign that you might be under investigation is that the police have called you to come to the potential crime scene or to the police station. Most people think that they are under an obligation to go to the station when the police request it, but that is not true until you have an attorney present.
The Fifth Amendment still applies even when police request to have you come to a specific location, and you should not go anywhere without contacting a criminal defense lawyer and requesting their presence. If you are requested to go to the station or another location, you should always respond to the request, but do not act on it until you have had a chance to speak to your attorney. Instead, inform the police that you have received their request and wish to have your lawyer present before coming to answer any questions. At that point, police must accede to your request, as anything they ask you without an attorney present is inadmissible once you have invoked your Fifth Amendment right.
How Can I Prepare Myself Once Police Target Me?
If you believe you are the target of a police investigation, the first thing you should do is contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker and set up a free consultation. Having a strong attorney-client relationship is critical if you need to discuss confidential or sensitive information, and an experienced lawyer can help you figure out how to address this information and keep it from hurting your chances in a trial.
Nicole’s experience as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer has blessed her with the ability to both look at your case from your perspective and figure out what strategies a state or federal prosecutor might try against you every step of the way.
If you think you might be the target of an investigation for a criminal case, do not wait for law enforcement officials to build a case against you. Contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker at (248) 515-6583 or fill out the contact form that sends information directly to her regarding your case. Make sure to protect your freedom by getting the right attorney on your side!