What should I do when I am “Under Investigation”?
Being the target of a criminal investigation is daunting to say the least. Whether you received a telephone call from a detective in the County Prosecutor's office or a target letter from the United States Attorney's office, fear and uncertainty can cause you to make costly mistakes. If you are contacted by police or law enforcement that is pursuing an investigation into a criminal offense, you should first and foremost consider carefully whether you will exercise your right to remain silent.
Many times law enforcement will say they want to talk with you “informally” and reminding you that you are not under arrest. Once the police place you under arrest, they must “Mirandize” you and specifically advise you that you have a right to remain silent and that you have a right to a lawyer. However, just because you are not under arrest and you have not been read your Miranda rights does not mean that the statement you give to law enforcement cannot be used against you. In all probability, your informal statement to the police will be used against you in a criminal prosecution. Remember: the investigator's job is to get information or evidence to build a case against you. A more difficult situation arises if you believe you are under investigation for a crime and you have not yet been contacted by law enforcement. The government will often conduct their investigation covertly. They do not want you to know that you are being investigated for fear that their evidence gathering procedure may become more difficult. You may learn that you are the subject of a criminal investigation from others close to you who have been contacted by the police. Protect yourself now. The moment you know or even suspect that you are “under investigation,” you should seek out and hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. What's more, if you know or even suspect that you are under investigation by law enforcement, you should not discuss any aspect of the investigation with anyone except for your lawyer. Anything you say to a third-party can be used in front of the grand jury to indict you.
A criminal defense lawyer can not only protect your constitutional rights, but they can also speak with law enforcement on your behalf. Your criminal defense lawyer can speak with the law enforcement officials on your behalf without any statements being directly or even indirectly attributable to you. Your attorney can also inquire as to the strengths of the prosecution's case and start to mount your defense. If your criminal defense attorney has an opportunity to speak with law enforcement, they can often get a head start on understanding the state's case and collecting evidence for your defense. The evidence collected by your lawyer can often be presented to the prosecutor as part of an attempt to avoid an indictment or, alternatively, reduce the initial charges. If you have been contacted by law enforcement, you should consult with a South Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney at DeMichele & DeMichele P.C. before you meet or speak with anyone associated with law enforcement. To speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys about the particulars of your situation, contact us now for your confidential and free initial consultation. You can also reach us by telephone (856) 546-1350. _____