What is a Pre-Arrest Investigation?
Being the subject of a criminal investigation can be stressful and intimidating. During the pre-arrest investigation phase, you’re under active scrutiny. However, you haven’t formally been charged for the offense by the prosecutor or indicated by a grand jury responsible for investigating crime at the federal, state, and county levels.
Some people wrongly believe that they must cooperate with law enforcers during pre-arrest investigations to prevent being charged with the crime. Hover, doing so could put you in more trouble, as anything you say during the inquiry could be used against you. Instead, you should first consult a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for legal counsel.
What Can Happen During a Pre-Arrest Investigation?
Pre-arrest investigations happen when police officers have reason to believe that you violated state or federal laws. While you’re not charged with a crime yet, law enforcement officers believe you have broken the law.
As such, they will take the following steps to establish if you committed the crime:
Gathering Physical Evidence
During their investigations, the police will collect physical evidence that can tie you to the alleged crime. This could include weapons, clothing, or fingerprints found at the crime scene or other places associated with the crime. The police may also collect DNA samples from you or the witnesses to compare them with the DNA found at the scene.
Interviewing the Witnesses
The police will interview witnesses and victims with information about the alleged crime. Their statements can give insights into what happened, helping the officers create a timeline that led to the crime in question. The answers the officers get could also lead to new avenues of inquiry in trying to build up a case against you.
Engaging in Surveillance
Depending on the type of crime being investigated, investigators could engage in surveillance of you or others who may have crucial information that completes the puzzle. Surveillance can happen at various times during the pre-arrest investigation.
Police officers may also go undercover as part of their investigations for a crime. Often, this investigation tactic is used for drug offenses, pornography, and other severe felony investigations.
The police may also request a search, but you don’t have to agree to this without a search warrant. After the police complete the investigation, they will forward the report to the District Attorney, who will review the evidence and determine the charges that should be brought against you.
How Long Do Pre-Arrest Investigations Take?
The length of time it takes for the police to conduct a pre-arrest investigation depends on factors like the seriousness and complexity of the crime. The process may take days, weeks, or a year to complete.
Legal representation from a Los Angeles pre-arrest criminal investigation attorney can make the process less frightening and intimidating. They can guide you on what to do or not do and stop the police from taking advantage of the situation to coerce you into self-incrimination.
What is the Danger of Talking to Police Officers During Pre-Arrest Investigations?
It’s crucial to understand how pre-arrest investigations work if you find yourself caught up in the situation, regardless of whether you’re guilty or innocent. Not knowing your rights while being investigated has many dangers, as speaking to law enforcement officers without legal counsel could make things go wrong.
In most pre-arrest investigation cases, the police have already concluded that you are guilty of the crime. Contacting you for an interview is only an attempt to strengthen their case by trying to make you confess to the crime. In most cases, they will file criminal charges, or a grand jury will indict you after a pre-arrest investigation.
Being proactive at the pre-arrest investigation phase can help you avoid the potentially harsh consequences of a criminal charge. The best thing you can do for yourself is to hire an experienced pre-arrest criminal investigation attorney in Los Angeles as soon as you learn that you’re under investigation.
How a Lawyer Can Help You During a Pre-Arrest Investigation
An experienced Los Angeles pre-arrest criminal investigation lawyer who understands how the criminal system works will fight aggressively to protect you against potential criminal charges. Their role at this stage is to do the following to enhance a favorable outcome:
Provide Legal Counsel and Representation
Your lawyer will start with a lengthy conversation with you to establish why you’re under investigation. During the consultation, the lawyer will want you to provide all the details about the investigation against you and your previous criminal history. With this information, they can begin creating a solid defense strategy, even before they know if you’ll be arrested.
They will also tell you what to expect in your criminal case should the police decide to press charges against you. Your lawyer will represent you during police interrogation and negotiate with your prosecutor to convince them not to file charges against you. They know how to navigate the pre-arrest investigation case, and their input can turn things around in your favor.
Investigate the Case and Gather Evidence
An experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles will conduct a thorough independent defense investigation to determine the facts and collect evidence to help in your defense. They may even hire private investigators and interview favorable witnesses that support your defenses while preparing them to testify on your behalf.
The aim is to uncover damaging or unfavorable evidence to contradict the evidence collected by the police. This is beneficial to you in developing strategies that challenge the admissibility of the evidence by the police. The more substantial the contradictory evidence, the higher the chances of having the charges against you dropped.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Protecting Your Rights During Pre-Arrest Investigations
If you’re the subject of pre-arrest investigations, it’s likely that the police already believe you’re guilty of the offense. As such, they may try to coerce you into admitting that you committed the crime, a mistake that can ruin your life forever. Ensure you have a skilled pre-arrest criminal investigation lawyer in Los Angeles to represent you.
We have provided legal representation for clients at the pre-arrest investigation phase for many years and have helped them get a favorable outcome. Our Los Angeles defense lawyers take responsibility for clients facing criminal charges seriously, putting their best skills to work in their defense. They can do the same for you. Call us immediately to start building a defense strategy.