Under Investigation? Here’s What Not to Do
Being investigated by law enforcement is both threatening and stressful. Fear can set in and cause you to make mistakes that may cause trouble for you down the road. Here are some general tips that can help if you are (or suspect you are) under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities.
Don’t panic – call an attorney
Police and prosecutors are required to investigate complaints of a criminal nature. You aren’t the first person they have had on their radar screen, and you won’t be the last, so do not panic. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are safeguarded at all times. He or she will provide guidance and help you understand what’s happening, removing a great deal of uncertainty.
Do not answer questions
Many people under investigation talk to the police or provide requested documents before they understand what the information will be used for. Sometimes they yield because they have been threatened with arrest. Don’t be fooled and give them details that could compromise you later. Ask to speak to an attorney before proceeding any further.
Do not be intimidated
If an investigator attempts to intimidate you by saying things like “We can have this conversation here or downtown,” stop talking immediately and call a criminal defense attorney. Comments like these signal an unreasonable and aggressive attitude. Even if the investigator is polite, don’t be fooled. They are there to collect information and evidence, not help you.
If you are told, “You have the right to remain silent,” do not say anything further
If an investigator or police officer gives you a Miranda warning, you are definitely the subject of a criminal investigation. Say nothing further without your attorney present. If they continue to question you, just say, “I want my attorney.” Each time a statement is repeated variations can occur, and they will be used by the police and prosecutor to attack your credibility in court.
Do not lie or justify your actions
Although you should say nothing without your attorney present, if you do talk to a law enforcement officer, do not lie. Giving false information to a police officer is a crime. You may also want to defend yourself by explaining what happened, but investigators are only there to seek evidence, not see your point of view. It is also the prosecutor, not the investigator, who makes the decision regarding prosecution. So save any explanations for your attorney.
Do not surrender any documents or potential evidence without a subpoena or warrant
If an investigator asks you to surrender anything, make sure they have a legal right to request the items. If you are served with a subpoena or search warrant, call your attorney right away and follow their advice.
If you or a loved one are being investigated for possible criminal charges, it’s important that you have an attorney on your team as soon as possible. Give us a call today at 855-892-1939 for more information!