Are You A Suspect In A Criminal Investigation?
If you’re being investigated by a California law enforcement agency, anything you disclose to them can and will be used against you. These incriminating statements are powerful weapons that a prosecutor can use to attempt a conviction.
Criminal Investigation Strategy
Interrogation by law enforcement is stressful and intimidating. You may think that you can talk your way out of an investigation, but lying to the police is a big mistake. Stay calm, and don’t allow fear to overwhelm you into saying things that are untrue.
Don’t believe an investigator if he indicates that cooperating will get you out of trouble, since law enforcement is allowed to tell you anything during an interrogation in order to get a confession.
Your best strategy is to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. By making a statement during a police investigation, you’re giving away your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, and helping law enforcement prove their case against you. Without your statement, they might not even have a case.
Choose The Right Attorney
If you are being investigated, are about to be arrested, or have already been charged with a crime, you need skilled, aggressive representation.
You need a criminal defense attorney experienced in representing individuals at every investigatory stage. It’s up to you to clearly ask for an attorney, and once you do, the police must end the interrogation until your attorney arrives.
- Don’t give any statements to the police until you have an attorney by your side. A skilled lawyer can determine if it’s a good idea for you to talk with law enforcement, prepare a defense, and – if necessary – initiate communication with the prosecutor’s office in an effort to settle the case before it goes to trial.
- Once your attorney informs law enforcement that they are representing you, the police must only contact you through your lawyer’s office. Your attorney can gather documents and interview witnesses before criminal charges have even been filed.
- Your attorney may be able to negotiate with law enforcement to allow you to surrender yourself for the booking process – rather than facing public arrest. He may also be able to surrender you to the court and make arrangements for you to be released on your own recognizance without posting bail.
- A skilled attorney will invoke your Constitutional rights:
- Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
- Fifth Amendment right to due process, representation, and to remain silent
- Sixth Amendment right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, and to a speedy trial
- Eighth Amendment right to bail
Frequently Asked Questions
A detective wants to interview me. How do I handle it?
Many people who have never been arrested believe that remaining silent or exercising their right to legal representation makes them look guilty. The truth is, if officers are trying to talk to you, they already have a reason to suspect that you are guilty, and you’re unlikely to change their opinion.
Instead, you run the risk of giving them more evidence against you. If you’re suspected of committing a crime and give a statement, it might hurt you or it may accomplish nothing – but it’s unlikely to ever help you. You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before talking to the police, since anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
Can I be arrested without a warrant?
Certainly! If you commit a crime in the officer’s presence, he can arrest you immediately. You can also be arrested based upon a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that you committed or were involved in a crime. However, to keep you in custody following the arrest, the police must satisfy a judge or magistrate that they had probable cause to make the arrest.
What rights do I have when I’m under arrest?
You have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning. You have the right to be told why you’re being arrested, and the nature of the charges you face. If the police possess a warrant for your arrest, you have the right to read it. You have the right to legal representation, to privileged communications with your attorney, and the right to bail.
Is law enforcement required to read the Miranda warning to me?
Yes, if you are being interrogated while in custody. Failure to read the Miranda warning to you doesn’t invalidate the arrest, but it does mean that any incriminating statements you make can be thrown out or suppressed.
Should I offer to tell my side of the story when a police officer arrests me?
No. Even if the officer believes your story, he’s unlikely to let you go. Anything you say will be used against you, so you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage by volunteering information. You should remain silent until you speak with your attorney.
What if the police officer promises to ask the prosecutor to show leniency if I confess?
In most cases, just the opposite occurs. Once you’ve confessed, the prosecutor has no incentive to show leniency. You’ve already given him everything he needs to prosecute you – which is why you should never speak to law enforcement without an attorney present.
Should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
Absolutely! A lawyer can counsel you on what to expect if you’re arrested, tell you how to cope with the criminal justice system, and help you understand your rights. Criminal offenses are frequently serious, and you could be facing jail, state prison, probation, fines, restitution, and a criminal record.
If you’re a suspect in a criminal investigation, consult with the experienced attorneys at the San Diego Law Office of Gregory Garrison – and protect your rights before criminal charges are even filed.