When you are arrested, it is obvious that the police are accusing you of committing a crime. There is no other way to look at the situation. Police only arrest someone when they suspect them of a commiting a crime.
But what happens before you are arrested? If you are not arrested while committing a crime, how do the police know that a crime was committed?
Police conduct investigations of specific crimes to identify suspected perpetrators, then make an arrest when they feel they have enough evidence to prove an accused person’s guilt. With this in mind, the next logical question is, can I find out if I’m under investigation?
Sometimes you can find out if you are under investigation, but not always. There are certain signs of being under investigation you can look out for. If you can identify those signs, you will learn how to know if you are under investigation by the police.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU ARE UNDER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
If the police arrest you, it is safe to assume that you are or were under a criminal investigation. But you don’t want to wait until that happens to take action. Recognizing the signs of being under criminal investigation can help you get ahead of the situation by seeking legal counsel and preparing for the possibility of an arrest and criminal charge.
The Police Contact You
First, if the police contact you to talk about an open criminal case, you might be under investigation. Police contact and interview persons of interest in their investigations.
Not every person they contact is a suspect, but when investigations begin, typically every person that the police talk to is a potential suspect. If not a suspect, individuals that the police contact are at least persons of interest. Thus, if the police contact and interview you, it is a sign that you might be under criminal investigation.
A Federal Agency Contacts You
Your local police are not the only law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes crimes. Other law enforcement agencies exist, particularly in the federal government. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are just a few federal agencies that investigate and prosecute federal crimes.
If an agent from one of these agencies contacts you for an interview, you might be under investigation for a federal crime.
Pay Attention to the Questions Asked of You
If the police contact you for an interview, the types of questions they ask can signal whether you are under investigation. For example, if the police contact you for an interview and mostly ask you questions about someone else, that person is probably under investigation, and you probably are not.
On the other hand, if the police ask you more pointed questions, you might be under investigation yourself. Questions concerning things like your whereabouts on a given date or your relationship with someone who was the victim of a crime can indicate that you are under investigation for a given crime.
Closely following the questions that law enforcement asks you in an interview will help you figure out whether you are being investigated.
Grand Jury Indictment
Receiving a grand jury indictment leaves no question as to whether you are under investigation for a crime. In many federal criminal cases, prosecutors must secure an indictment before formally filing charges. To secure an indictment, prosecutors present all the evidence they have in a given case to a grand jury.
The grand jury weighs the evidence and decides whether it is substantial or compelling enough to warrant prosecution before accepting or rejecting the indictment. Sometimes law enforcement detains suspects before a grand jury decides on an indictment, but not always. Thus, if you are indicted, an arrest may come before or after the grand jury hearing.
An indictment is a formal accusation of a criminal offense, so if you receive indictment papers, you are or were under criminal investigation.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE UNDER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
The best way to find out if you are under investigation is with the help of a criminal defense attorney. Criminal defense attorneys have experience with prior police investigations, so they know how to identify things that indicate the existence of a criminal investigation.
If you think you are under investigation for a crime, call Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today. At Cowboy Country Criminal Defense, we have helped countless clients identify ongoing police investigations.
By identifying investigations before police file charges, we help our clients get ahead of criminal charges and prepare robust defenses to protect their freedom.
Our mission is to protect your rights and put power back in your hands, so call us today for a consultation!