Legal Guidance Is Crucial In A Criminal Investigation
Being under investigation for a crime can be scary. Sometimes you receive official notice that law enforcement is investigating you, and sometimes you only find out when they show up on your doorstep asking to talk to you. If you have reason to believe the police have you under investigation, consult with an attorney now. At Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C., we have extensive trial experience in criminal law and we understand how the investigative process works.
If the police have you under investigation, they are looking for information to build their case. You may accidentally say something they can later use against you. Remember that you always have the right to remain silent, and your attorney can guide you regarding how and when to answer questions. Early intervention can prevent charges from being filed, lead to lesser charges or, at the very least, put you in a better position to create an effective defense strategy.
Common Crimes That Involve Lengthy Investigations
Criminal investigations often begin when someone reports a crime and may continue before, during and after an arrest. Some crimes, such as OWI, do not involve much investigation before an arrest, but other cases take time to build the facts and evidence needed to bring charges. Cases involving longer investigations typically include:
- Sexual assault crimes: Police usually need to build evidence to substantiate these allegations.
- Federal charges: Federal crimes often involve lengthy investigations by the agency involved, such as the FBI, the IRS or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Theft and robbery: Unless police catch the suspect in the act, these crimes often require an investigation.
- Homicide charges: Whether accidental or intentional, the serious nature of these charges means they often require investigation.
What Happens If I Am Arrested?
An arrest does not necessarily mean the end of the investigation, but often means prosecutors feel they have enough information to bring charges. Once you are arrested and processed at the jail, you may be able to post bail and sign yourself out, promising to return for your initial court appearance. For more serious offenses, however, you will have to wait for your initial court appearance to request bail. The initial hearing should take place within 48 hours of the arrest before it goes through the trial process. Investigations may continue while both sides prepare for trial.
Conducting Your Own Investigation
Many defendants do not understand the importance of conducting their own investigation in preparation for trial. One of the benefits of hiring an experienced criminal defense firm is the access to resources, such as private investigators. Police investigations often end as soon as they find enough evidence to bring charges, but fail to follow up on other leads and witnesses or to fill in gaps in the case. The defense investigation does all those things, often leading to important evidence to assist you at trial.