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How to Find Out if You are Being Investigated

In any criminal investigation, knowing the prosecution’s strategy is key to mounting an effective defense. So, if there is even a possibility that you might soon be facing criminal charges from law enforcement, it is of the utmost importance that you hire a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Even in the early stages of a criminal investigation, having the right defense attorney by your side can mean the difference between being found guilty and serving jail time or being found innocent and walking away with your freedom. In fact, the right law firm may even be able to  have your criminal case thrown out before it can go any further.

So how can you find out if you are being investigated? To help you navigate the tricky criminal justice system, let’s take a look at some of the telltale signs that all criminal investigations have in common. Use this information to hire the best local defense attorney to handle your criminal case.

How to Find Out if You are Being Investigated

You might think that if you are a suspect in a criminal or federal investigation that law enforcement would just come out and tell you. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.

During criminal cases and federal investigations, law enforcement officers do not have to inform you that you are a suspect or even that they may arrest you. However, their actions often speak louder than their actual words.

The Police Want to Question You

The easiest way to tell if there is an active local or federal  criminal investigation of you is if any member of law enforcement contacts you – police officers, detectives, deputies, the Sheriff, a government employee, or agents from any of the federal agencies – FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, etc. Learn what to do if a detective is looking for you here.

Aren’t Police Allowed to Ask Questions?

Members of law enforcement have the legal power to approach people and ask them questions. In and of itself, being questioned by the police does not necessarily mean you are a suspect in a crime. In fact, for the good of the general welfare, every citizen is encouraged to cooperate with police officers of the law in the performance of their duties.

With that said, it should be a major red flag if they are overly focused on YOU – your activities, your whereabouts, your alibi, etc.

You should also be concerned if they detain you, either physically or by a show of authority that makes you feel that you are not free to go.

What Should I Do if Police Want to Question Me?

If any member of law enforcement is questioning you about your possible involvement in a criminal or federal investigation, there are two things that you absolutely MUST do to protect yourself. Your freedom and your future depend on it.

Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

First, exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. This is the first of your “Miranda Protections,” and it prevents you from saying something that could harm your defense.

In other words, do not try to explain yourself or answer questions to clear things up, because anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

In fact, if you say the wrong thing, it could actually help the criminal case for federal investigation against you. You could end up in front of a grand jury because of something that you mentioned earlier.

One important caveat – you can’t just stop talking. The Supreme Court has ruled that:

Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke the right to remain silent.

Simply tell the interrogating officers, “I exercise my right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.” Then, all law enforcement and federal agencies are required by law to immediately stop questioning.

Invoke Your Right to an Attorney

The second of your “Miranda Rights” is your right to consult with an attorney before speaking with law enforcement and to have that attorney present during any further questioning.

Again, you must clearly state that you wish to use this right, by saying “I exercise my right to have a defense attorney present, under the Sixth Amendment.”

Blank Law, PC offers a criminal attorney free consultation to all potential clients 24/7/365!

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Using Your Rights

Used together, these legal rights of yours form a shield that protects you when you are investigated for a crime. Your words can’t be twisted or misconstrued and used as a weapon against you, and law enforcement cannot unlawfully keep interrogating you for hours on end.

The Police Want to Question Your Family and Friends

If you are being investigated for a crime, another common tactic that a public or private investigator might use is to reach out to the people closest to you – your family members, friends, neighbors, and even coworkers.

They can do this either before or after they talk to you in their efforts to get a more complete picture of the situation.

There is no telling what these other people will tell law enforcement. Their statements can be the absolute truth, outright lies, mistakes, or their incomplete version of the truth.

Here is the thing – if their stories contradict yours in any way, it can potentially cast more suspicion on you, or at the very least make law enforcement look at you more closely.

Again, this is why you should invoke your right to silence and refuse to answer any questions without a criminal defense attorney by your side. They will be able to challenge the statements of any so-called “witnesses” and in many cases, have them ruled inadmissible; ultimately keeping you out of jail.

Law Enforcement Shows Up with a Search Warrant

If law enforcement officers show up at your home or place of business with a search warrant, that is an unmistakable sign that you are under criminal investigation.

It means that investigators have convinced a judge that there is probable cause to search your property or business for evidence of your involvement in a crime. They are hoping to find enough evidence for the district attorney to file charges and try you before a grand jury.

Do not argue with investigators who are serving a warrant. Do not try to prevent them from entering and do not try to hide or destroy anything. Call your criminal defense attorney and let them handle everything.

You are under Surveillance

It is also possible that law enforcement agencies may survey  you, your family, and your place of business to track your activities and whereabouts in an attempt to gather more incriminating direct or circumstantial evidence against you for use in front of a federal grand jury.

With that said, they must have probable cause to get permission for certain types of surveillance.

If you have the right law firm representing you and the right attorney-client relationship, the initial warrant and any subsequent evidence can be challenged in court and possibly ruled inadmissible.

You Receive a Target Letter

Often, law enforcement and federal agencies will notify you that you are the subject of a criminal investigation by sending a written document.

Common elements of a target letter include:

  • Your status as either a target or a witness of a federal investigation
  • A list of crimes that you are thought to have committed
  • An invitation to contact the investigator or prosecutor
  • A reminder of your rights

There are a few things to keep in mind about target letters.

First, they indicate that you have probably been under investigation for quite a while.

Second, they mean that there is probably sufficient evidence against you to justify filing charges.

Third, receipt of a target letter means that an indictment is very likely.

Fourth – and most encouraging – it means that the prosecutor is willing to discuss your criminal case. This may be your opportunity to share your side and, if necessary, negotiate your best plea bargain or other deal.

Always let your defense attorney respond to any target letters. When the prosecution’s case is laid out in more detail, they will be better able to advise you on whether or not to accept any offers.

The right law firm will help you negotiate the best possible outcome.

What Blank Law, PC Can Do for You

If you live in Michigan and are facing a criminal investigation, your first and best resource is the law firm of Blank Law, PC.

No other attorney’s office offers the powerful combination of experience and expertise that you need to beat local or federal charges.

Founding defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker has over 20 years of experience as both an Assistant Prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. Her expertise allowed her to rise to Chief of Macomb County‘s Sex Crimes and Child Abuse units.

Defense attorney Christopher Coyle has practiced law for over 30 years, including 28 years as a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor. His skill eventually landed him the position of Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Unit.

What this means to you is a uniquely qualified defense law firm that can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy and next moves to put together a criminal defense that ensures the best possible outcome.

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For a free consultation, contact Blank Law, PC. When your future and your freedom are at stake, never settle for less than the best.