If you believe you may be under investigation in Washington, DC, there are a few important steps you should take in order to ensure that you are not incriminating yourself in any way. The following is more on how to react to an investigation and the importance of hiring a DC criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The most obvious red flag that someone is being investigated is when a police officer calls the person and says that he or she is being investigated, and the authorities want to talk to them. If someone gets a call like that, the very first words out of their mouth should be to tell the authorities, very politely, that they want to talk to a lawyer first.
Regardless of what else the authorities say, or if they tell the person they don’t need a lawyer because the authorities just want to ask a couple of questions to hear their side of the story, the person’s first response should be that they want to talk to a lawyer. Many police officers may not be that forthcoming when conducting the investigation. They may simply knock on a person’s door and start asking questions about where that person was at a certain time without actually telling the person that they are being investigated.
Anytime police officers ask questions, even if they don’t tell a person specifically that he or she is being investigated, a person should always assume the worst and tell the police officers that they want to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions.
Officers sometimes come up to the front door of a person’s home and slip a card underneath the door with handwriting on it asking the person to call them. In any situation, a person should first call a lawyer before answering questions or before saying anything to police officers.
If officers come to a person’s house early in the morning with a search warrant, the person is required to let them inside to conduct their search. The person should not resist or interfere with the officer’s ability to conduct a search pursuant to a search warrant. The first thing the person should do is call their lawyer to let them know that the police are searching their house. They should keep track of what the officers are looking through and what they’re doing. That way, they can discuss with their lawyer whether the police officers overstepped their bounds.
Very often, after a law enforcement agency arrests a person, they can apply for search warrants to search their house or car while the person is in jail. If that’s the case, there is nothing that can be done to stop officers who are searching items or areas that belong to the person pursuant to a valid search warrant. If a person believes they are being investigated and may be arrested soon, they should be aware of what they have around their house. A search warrant may be executed that could expose them to criminal liability. If someone is being investigated, they should understand that their house could be searched pursuant to a warrant.
For people who believe they are being investigated, but are not sure, there is never a downside to talking to a lawyer about the possible exposure. Sometimes, people don’t even know whether they committed a crime, but someone threatened to call the police on them for whatever reason. Having the assistance of a lawyer serves as a barrier between them and other individuals such as police or witnesses who can make your life difficult. This is always helpful and gives the client peace of mind. A person loses nothing by speaking to a lawyer first. At a later point, if something comes up, they already know what to do and what not to do.
As an example, if someone believes that in the future they may be investigated, having an attorney can help them understand what their response should be if confronted by authorities. If a police officer starts asking questions, or the FBI calls says they want the person to come in, the person knows what their immediate response should be. They don’t have to worry whether it is the kind of thing that could create exposure for them because they know what to say to that investigator.
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