Coping with Police Interrogation or Investigation
Prior to bringing formal charges, the police investigate what they believe to be a crime. This investigation can include surveillance or questioning by authorities. You may also be arrested and released without charges being brought, only to find yourself back in the hot seat for questioning a short time later. Remember, the police want you to say and do things they can use to justify another arrest or formal charges. Because the tactics used can be confusing, you may reveal something that is later used against you. Don’t take the chance of arrest or give the investigator any information that could lead to charges being brought. If you are being investigated or questioned, immediately call an attorney to protect your rights.
State agencies operate pursuant to a set of investigative rules and guidelines when conducting investigations. However, there are some standards by which all law enforcement must abide, and the American Bar Association offers a good guide:
- Search warrants: These must be obtained legally and implemented properly
- Rights of the accused: Prior to being questioned, you must be told your rights and allowed to have an attorney present during questioning.
- Cooperation: The authorities must cooperate with the prosecution in any investigation and realize the goal is to develop and gather facts.
- Public benefit: Law enforcement and state attorneys do not represent individuals, but they owe a duty to the public they serve. The goal of any investigation should be to protect the public.
To avoid arrest and ensure investigations are conducted properly, act fast to protect yourself. Call an attorney who has experience interviewing forensic witnesses used by police and knows the rules authorities must follow when questioning you. If during an investigation you are being harassed, be sure to find a lawyer who would know when to object to flawed procedures and keep improperly obtained evidence out of court. Use an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney to effectively defend you at any phase of a criminal case.