Prior to being charged with a crime, police officers may perform what is referred to as a “pre-file investigation.” This part of the process involves officers gathering evidence in order to build a case against an individual with the goal of charging them with a crime. This process is legal, though it is important to remember that your rights still remain: you do not have to answer their questions, and they cannot come into your home without a search warrant.
It is within your rights to speak with a criminal defense attorney if you suspect that you are being followed by police officers or are being secretly investigated. They can help you navigate the process and will be by your side if charges are filed.
There are a few telltale signs that you are under criminal investigation. If you have suspicions, keep an eye out for the following:
The pre-file investigation process usually involves visits from the police to not only the party suspected of criminal activity but their close family and friends as well. If they try to come to your home or call your place of work, you are under no legal obligation to talk with them. The same goes for your family and close friends. They may even ask you or encourage you to come in and make a statement, which is also not required.
It is likely that they will be simultaneously pulling background checks by using police reports and legal records. Be aware of your rights and what signs to look out for so that they are not able to falsely use anything you say against you.
Have you recently gotten a couple of strange social media requests? It’s vital to keep all social media accounts private and not accept any unfamiliar names or faces. It’s likely that the accounts could be owned by undercover investigators who are actively searching for evidence to charge you with a crime.
Social media evidence is admissible in court and is often used to place people at the scene of a crime or mark their general location.
If you decline to speak to any officers coming to your home or place of work, it is likely they will still choose to keep you under observation. In order to surveil your activities, undercover investigators have been known to drive around in unmarked cars, often parking in the neighborhood or by your office. It is best not to approach the unmarked vehicle, and remember that your rights protect you from any unwarranted search or communication. Similarly, you have the right to legal representation, who can help talk you through your suspicions and provide you with any next steps and the information necessary to safeguard your rights.
Don’t let the investigating officers intimidate you into speaking or letting them into your home. It’s important to know that, if you don’t feel safe or comfortable, you can speak to them through a closed door and politely decline any offers to come in to make a statement. If you feel particularly unsafe or like they are not following the protocols for a pre-file investigation, Fighter Law is here to help. Our board-certified team has spent decades protecting our clients’ rights and future. We would love to do the same for you.
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