Do I Need A Lawyer If I’m Being Investigated for a Crime?
You hope that you will never be put in this position, but at some point in your life you may be under investigation from law enforcement for a crime. You might think that you can explain the situation to the police and immediately avoid being charged of any crime or wrongdoing. Unfortunately, even if you have the best of intentions, talking to the police without consulting your lawyer first can lead to serious legal repercussions. Keep reading to learn more about what you should do if law enforcement ever contacts you regarding a criminal investigation.
If You Are Under Investigation
When the police arrest someone, they are required to read the Miranda Rights, which advise the person that they have the right to remain silent. Sometimes the police will try to interview someone who has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but instead is being investigated for a crime.
You Are Under Investigation – What Next?
Most importantly, no one is required to give an interview to police officers whether or not they are being arrested. This is also the case for people who are under investigation. The police may try to frame this in a very casual way. During an investigation, police officers may call a suspect, or come by a suspect’s home or work, to request an interview.
This may be framed in very friendly terms such as, “we’re following up on a report”, or “we just want to clear something up”, or “we want to eliminate you as a suspect”. The odds are extremely high that if law enforcement is asking you about your actions in relation to a criminal investigation that you are in fact a suspect in that investigation. Once you are a target of an investigation it is also likely that anything you say could be twisted in a way that makes you look guilty. In this way, a friendly interview can quickly escalate into a full blown interrogation where you are even asked to perform a polygraph test.
As with any encounter with the police, we would strongly recommend that you first contact your lawyer before speaking. Even if you are completely innocent and are trying to do the “right thing”, this testimony can easily be distorted and used against you in a negative way.
The Center for Criminal and Immigration Law is a boutique law firm in Virginia that specializes in criminal and immigration law. Contact them today if you believe you are under investigation for a crime for legal advice you know you can trust.