A Guide To Police Investigations And Interviews
If you are being investigated by the police, our specialist criminal defence solicitors can provide expert legal advice and representation. To request a consultation please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on .
If you are not yet in need of legal advice and are seeking more information at this stage, the below is intended to be a useful guide to police investigations and procedure.
Arrest Or Criminal Summons
If the police believe they have enough evidence that you committed a crime, they may go before a magistrate or judge and ask for a warrant for your arrest. If you are accused of a felony, the police or agency may hand over the case to a local or federal prosecutor.
However, in North Carolina, instead of being arrested for a state-level offense, you may receive a criminal summons that requires you to appear in court. The police may go before a magistrate and present evidence that you committed an infraction or a crime. The magistrate can then sign a criminal summons, which requires you to appear in court and answer questions about the charges.
If you receive a criminal summons, call a lawyer immediately. If you ignore the summons and do not go to court, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Crimes In Progress Or Just Witnessed
If a crime is in progress, or you have just witnessed or experienced a crime, try to get to safety first.
- immediately and try to stay calm.
- Be alert of your surroundings and try to make mental notes.
- When talking to the 911 dispatcher, keep in mind the following:
- The first question you will be asked is, Where is your emergency?
- Give the dispatcher as specific an address as possible.
- If you dont know the exact address, try to provide a street name or to identify landmarks around you. It is extremely important to provide as much detail about your location as possible.
All 911 calls can be connected to a translator if foreign language assistance is needed. Do not make prank calls to 911. Prank 911 calls, which take dispatchers away from callers whose lives might be in danger, are punishable by law.
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Second Sign: Police Requested Information From A Persons Friends
Another sign that a person may be under investigation is if they have a friend, coworker, or someone else in their life that was contacted by law enforcement requesting information about them. In this situation, you can assume that authorities want to speak with colleagues to see what information they can obtain about you. When this occurs, it is generally a major sign of a pending investigation.
How Long Does A Pre
Pre-file investigations can occur before or after a suspects arrest. In some situations, the police will suspect a person of breaking the law, but they just dont have enough evidence to arrest the person. In this type of scenario, the police would conduct a pre-file investigation to see if they can turn up enough evidence to make an arrest. If the detectives are successful, theyll arrest the suspect.
Other times, the arrest is only the beginning of what launches into a full-blown pre-file investigation. However, just because someone is arrested this does not mean that theres sufficient evidence for the DA to file charges.
When someone is arrested, what happens next is their case goes through a screening process: the DA screens the case to decide whether the evidence is strong enough to press charges and hopefully secure a conviction.
The State Attorneys Office is swamped and has limited resources thus, it does not press charges against people unless it believes that it can win. If there is not enough evidence against an individual, the DA will consider the case a waste of time and tax dollars if it moves forward. In effect, the state will NOT file charges against the suspect.
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Unlawful Stop Or Detention
As previously discussed, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur. If the law enforcement officer stops the defendant without a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred, the prosecutor cannot use the defendant’s refusal to answer as evidence of failure to identify oneself to a police officer.
Your Finances Are Being Checked
If you are being investigated, there may be traces on your credit report. While there are laws protecting your privacy from people accessing your credit report without your permission, this won’t stop an unscrupulous investigator. When someone asks to see a copy of your credit report, it is listed as a credit inquiry on the report. Get copies of your free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus at a website like AnnualCreditReport.com . Examine them for inquiries from any company you don’t recognize. While it’s not a guarantee that you are being investigated, this may be a clue.
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Should Someone Ever Cooperate With The Police And Speak To Them Without A Lawyer
You should never do that you can absolutely request to consult a lawyer first, and you can always choose not to talk to the police at any time its one of the most important rights we have. Chances are good that whatever police want to talk to you will be to discover information to see if you should be arrested, and they dont have enough yet.
This is a very important concept if they had enough to arrest you, they would its what they do. So, often, when the police talk to someone, it means they dont have enough for an arrest which, in turn, means if the person they were talking to would just keep quiet they still wouldnt have enough they didnt have enough to arrest them they would be out of trouble. Instead, too often they choose to talk, fill in the gaps and give the police everything they need. They fill all the gaps in the case.
How Do The Police Deal With People With Mental Health Problems
The police or the custody sergeant may be concerned that you are mentally vulnerable. If you agree your legal adviser, friend or relative could tell the police you have mental health issues. If so, they should get an appropriate adult for you as soon as possible.
What does mentally vulnerable mean?
The police may think you are vulnerable if they believe that you will not understand what they say to you because of your mental capacity. You do not need a diagnosed mental illness to be mentally vulnerable.
You should be classed as vulnerable if you:
- have difficulty understanding the consequences of what is happening to you at the police station,
- dont seem to understand the importance of what you are told,
- dont seem to understand the importance of questions the police ask you,
- dont seem to understand the importance of your replies to the police questions,
- appear to become confused and unclear about what is happening,
- provide unreliable, misleading or incriminating information without meaning to,
- do what other people tell you to do without wanting to, or
- agree with everything someone is saying without questioning it.
Liaison and Diversion services
Liaison and Diversion services are provided by the NHS. They work within the criminal justice system, including at police stations.
Liaison and Diversion services identify vulnerable people who have contact with the criminal justice system. This includes people with mental health problems.
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What Do I Do If There Is A Warrant Out For My Arrest Should I Turn Myself In
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.
There Is A Warrant Out For Your Arrest
To obtain a warrant for your arrest, police typically go to the prosecutors to present their case. If the prosecutors decide to file a case against you, they can then go to a judge to get an arrest warrant. The arrest warrant signals the investigation is complete enough for the police and prosecutors to believe you are guilty of a crime. It also typically means the charges have already been filed in court against you.
On the other hand, a search warrant for your home and or business is an indication the police believe you are a viable suspect and there will be evidence of a crime collected if they search your property. A search warrant for your DNA can also be issued and that means you are a suspect in a crime, typically sexual assault. Only a judge can issue a search or arrest warrant.
Whether you have been named in a search or arrest warrant, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can help you protect your reputation by quietly surrendering to the police on an arrest warrant, and protect your rights during the execution of a search warrant.
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Should I Simply Go In And Attempt To Explain Everything
One of the top misconceptions about being arrested or investigated on criminal charges is that the police are there to help you and if youre under suspicion simply explain everything, the case will just go away.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Never give any information to police without having your attorney present to advise you. Even if youre not guilty, you may inadvertently give damning evidence that may be twisted and used against you. A criminal defense attorney is familiar with the way these kinds of cases work and what needs to happen to provide you with a quick resolution and positive outcome.
How To Stay Informed
When you report the crime, the police will tell you how to contact them. You can also ask for a phone number or email address if one isn’t given to you.
If you do know the first and last name of your police officer in chargepolice officer in chargeYour main contact person with the police for your case.View the full glossary, you can email them directly by using the following email format .
Your email should include a way for them to contact you, such as an email address or a phone number. You can also call or visit the police station and ask to speak to the officer in charge.
You can ask a support person to assist you when making inquiries about your case. You can also ask for an interpreter if you dont speak English well. You can find out more about getting an interpreter at the below link:
Losing a loved one to homicidehomicideWhen a person is killed by another person.View the full glossary is an extremely traumatic experience. You’ll have a police officer assigned to you or your whnau. This officer will be able to:
- to answer any questions you have and make sure you know what is happening during the investigation
- to put you in touch with specialist support agencies
- to explain when you can see the body and whether you will be able to touch them or not
- to talk to you about financial assistance you might be entitled to.
More information about the coronial process
Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim-survivor.
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To Exercise Your Right Of Access Follow These Steps:
- Identify where to send your request.
- Think about what personal data you want to access.
- Make your request directly to the organisation.
- State clearly what you want.
You might not want all the personal data that the organisation holds about you. It may respond more quickly if you explain this and identify the specific data you want.
Signs You May Be The Target Of A Criminal Investigation
If you have ever watched a television cop show, you have seen investigators conduct criminal investigations. While real life differs from television in many ways, criminal investigations happen all the time. How do you know if you are the target of one, though?
Criminal investigations unfold in a few different ways. If you notice any of the following, however, you may need to ask a lawyer for assistance:
1. You have done something wrong
Generally, investigators do not investigate for the sake of investigating. If you have done something illegal, such as , someone may eventually discover your conduct. If a person alerts the authorities, you can likely assume an investigator will begin to look into your behavior.
2. You notice strange activity
Often, investigators must gather extensive evidence when investigating a crime. If you notice strange vehicles parked near your house, receive odd phone calls or even have unknown individuals contact you through social media, you may be the subject of a criminal investigation.
3. You receive a request for information
Criminal investigators typically look through a variety of records when building a case. They may also work with banks, educational institutions, employers and others to uncover facts. If you receive a request for information that seems out of the ordinary, an investigator may be trying to pin criminal charges on you.
4. An investigator tells you
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Are Police Reports Admissible In Court
In small claims courts, litigants are usually permitted to use police reports as evidence in their car accident case. You will not be expected to know all the rules of evidence, so judges typically will allow plaintiffs and defendants to use the police report in explaining what happened.
If your car accident case goes to trial in your states court of general jurisdiction , you should know that parties in these cases are held to the rules of evidence and must contend with whether the police report falls within the rule against hearsay evidence, which keeps out many out-of-court statementsby definition, any assertion made in a police report is a statement that was made out of court. In some jurisdictions, the police report may fall within the public records or business records exception for admissibility. In other jurisdictions, different exceptions to the hearsay rule may apply and allow you to admit some or all of the police report as evidence.
If the police report isnt helpful to your position, or if there are early signs that the other side is digging in for a fight, having an attorney on your side can be critical. Learn more about how a car accident attorney can help, and get tips on finding the right injury lawyer for you and your case.
Taking Part In An Identity Procedure
If the police have a suspect for an offence and the identity of that person is in dispute, they may wish to carry out an identity procedure. In this case, you will be asked to pick out the person who you think committed the alleged offence.
In order to carry out the identification procedure the police may use one of several methods including a process known as Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording – commonly known as ‘VIPER’.
This means that the identification procedure is prepared in the form of a DVD disc and will be shown to you by the police officer on a laptop or computer. The advantage of this electronic process is that you can view the DVD disc in places other than the police station, such as at home, should you prefer.
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When Do The Police Have To Advise You Of Your Miranda Rights
Michael: Unless you are under arrest or are in some form of police custody and intent to question you, Miranda will apply. If its still in an investigatory stage, and the police just want to ask you some questions, they dont have to advise you of Miranda Rights.
As soon as the focus narrows on any potential crime and on any particular individual thats usually when Miranda Rights should be read. The problem is you do not always know when this is occurring. So the best advice is to always consult an attorney before speaking with the police.
My practice focuses exclusively on DWI, TRAFFIC and CRIMINAL matters. As a sole practitioner, he provides his clients accessibility and a degree of personal attention that large firms cannot. For other attorneys such cases are a small portion of their practice