If you are being investigated for a crime, we can help protect you and your rights.
Every criminal case begins with an investigation by the police or some other law enforcement agency. Sometimes the investigation period is brief. For instance, in a DWI investigation, the investigation usually consists of “tailing” the car, questioning the driver and collecting physical evidence. In other cases the investigation may be longer. In this kind of investigation you may or may not be aware the police are investigating, and you may not know you are the target of the investigation. Law enforcement may ask to question you or cooperate in the investigation in other ways. It is important that you have a criminal defense attorney any time you are communicating with the police.
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION FAQs
- Do you need to hire a criminal lawyer?
- How can you find out if there is a warrant for my arrest?
- How can I keep my name out of the media?
- What do I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?
- Should I turn myself in?
- Can I get a walk-through?
- What is book and release?
- Do I have to talk to the police or answer questions?
- How do I know if I am being investigated?
- How do I defend myself and protect my rights during a police investigation?
Criminal investigations are conducted by the various police agencies of the state and federal government in addition to the state district attorneys and federal prosecutors. Police agencies including city police officers, sheriff’s officers, Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, Texas Rangers and state troopers typically conduct the initial investigation on the state level. On the federal level, agents from the FBI, DEA, DHS, ATF and Secret Service typically conduct the initial investigations. After a case has been filed, the initial investigating agencies typically hand off the investigation to state or federal prosecutors.
Throughout this process, the investigators will conduct interviews with potential witnesses and collect physical evidence. If you are being contacted by law enforcement as part of an investigation, you should consider calling us immediately before you cooperate. You do not have to have done anything wrong to be convicted of a crime. You may be the subject of an investigation without even knowing it. Even if you want to cooperate, it is best to gather as much information as possible in advance. Bear in mind that police officers and law enforcement are trained to make arrests and put people in jail. They are not trained to advocate for you or look out for your best interests. Make the call early on to hire a criminal lawyer who will represent you and protect your rights in a criminal investigation.
Are you under investigation for a crime? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with criminal defense attorney Paul Saputo.
You should be represented by a criminal lawyer from the moment that you are under investigation for a crime. In many circumstances, it may be difficult to know whether you are being investigated until it’s too late, so call us immediately if you have any concern about a pending investigation. If you have already been arrested or charged with a crime, you should not hesitate to hire a criminal defense lawyer. After you are arrested or charged with a crime, a criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights during an investigation by the police or other law enforcement agency. After you are arrested, a criminal lawyer can represent you in court and advise you about the best strategies to defend you and protect your freedom and all of your rights.
The best way to find out whether you have an active warrant is to call the office of the investigating agency or sheriff’s office. Bail bondsmen will usually look up whether there is an active warrant on you free of charge. For federal cases, it is more difficult because investigations are conducted more secretively.
We regularly hear requests from clients to do everything we can to keep their names out of the media. Public relations management is part of our regular criminal defense practice for all major crimes and clients at their request. We are also ready to employ a more aggressive media stance if the circumstances require to defend our clients.
It is patently unfair for the police and prosecutors to publicize trials and investigations before trial because it colors the jury pool. However, this happens with regularity. Make sure to hire a criminal defense attorney skilled in managing this media onslaught. Some of our best successes are the ones that you have never heard about because our clients’ names did not make it to the media.
If there is an active warrant for your arrest, do not ignore it. You should call us immediately to determine what is best for you to do under the circumstances. Sometimes we advise our clients to turn themselves in, and we go to court together with them. In these types of situations our criminal lawyers are frequently able to have a PR Bond set, and sometimes we can get the entire jail book-in process waived. We cannot do this for every case, but we will need to discuss the options with you. It is better to address an outstanding warrant than ignoring it. You do not want to have the police bust down your door at night or come to arrest you at work.
A walk through means the same thing as “book and release.” This is the process in which bail is set and posted at the same time or before you are booked into jail. This is the fastest way to resolve an outstanding warrant and get you back out to your life and loved ones. We offer this service to our clients.
In short, no you do not have to answer questions that the police ask you when they are investigating a crime. However, not answering questions can look bad and the fact that you are uncooperative can be used against you. You expose yourself to risk by not cooperating, and sometimes the police will get angry and may even attempt to harm you. This is why it is best to have a criminal defense attorney before you even consider answering questions. If the police are trying to interrogate you or are asking you to cooperate in an investigation, call me immediately.
The only way to know for certain is to ask the investigating agency whether you are being investigated. However, our criminal defense lawyer does not advise that you do this. You should reserve this for your lawyer. Even if you are given an answer, there is no way that you can be sure that they are telling you the truth. The police are allowed to lie to you. But you can usually assume that when police are asking you questions, you are under investigation.
If you have a criminal defense lawyer, you should be able to preserve your rights through the protection of counsel. I usually advise my clients to tell the police that they have a lawyer and will be happy to cooperate with them if their lawyer allows it. This makes the police aware that my clients are represented by counsel and that they are willing to cooperate. In addition, I typically conduct a parallel investigation so that we do not rely on the law enforcement agency’s work alone. We collect evidence and interview witnesses favorable to us.