Your name could come up in a police investigation in any number of ways. But when police, detectives, or federal agents attempt to question or contact you, you may be intimidated and unsure of what to expect.
Anytime the police might be investigating you, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. Regardless of the situation, you should know and protect your rights.
Here are some ways to tell if the police are investigating you in Cincinnati and how to handle it.
Find Out if You Are Under Investigation
Although it may not always be clear whether you are currently under investigation, some ways are more obvious than others.
If you notice any of the following, it may be safe to assume that police are investigating you for criminal activity:
- The police attempt to contact your friends, family, and potentially your job
- You receive friend requests from people you do not know on social media
- The police call you or visit your home
- There are unmarked vehicles or police cars outside of your home or business
These are only a few of the more common signs that you may be under investigation.
What to Do if Police Visit You
The process for charging someone with a crime will vary depending on the crime. In some cases, police may arrest someone while committing a crime. But this is not the norm.
More often, police are notified of a crime after it has happened and need to investigate and identify suspects.
Therefore, if the police have contacted you with questions about a crime, you can expect them to have already processed the crime scene in question. This probably resulted in them recovering various types of evidence that may connect you to the crime somehow.
Examples of evidence may include:
- Video surveillance
- Photographic evidence
- Victim statements
- Witness testimony
- Forensic evidence
More than likely, the evidence recovered at the scene will point the police toward who they should contact. At this point, law enforcement will begin interviewing witnesses and suspects alike.
This means that police may be interested in speaking with you, but that does not necessarily mean you are a suspect. Instead, they may be interested in talking with you about someone else they suspect to have committed a crime, or you may simply live in an area where a crime has taken place.
Shouldn’t I Just Cooperate?
Even though you may want to help, it is rarely in anyone’s best interest to speak to the police without an attorney present. Even if you have no reason to be concerned that you would face criminal charges, at any point in a law enforcement investigation, it is possible that you could become a suspect.
When you have an attorney present, you can be sure that nothing you say will be used against you should the prosecuting attorney elect to pursue criminal charges against you.
The Pre-Charge Investigation Process
Before the prosecuting attorney can file formal criminal charges, the investigation process for crimes in Cincinnati is generally as follows:
- Police begin to obtain forensic evidence
- Forensic evidence leads them to a list of suspects
- Police will begin to interrogate the suspects
- If the police have enough evidence, they may then proceed to turn your case over to the prosecuting attorney so that formal criminal charges against the suspect in question
The process for pursuing criminal charges can often vary depending on the crime and circumstances. If you have concerns surrounding the investigation process of a crime that you believe you may be a suspect in, be sure to reach out to a criminal defense attorney.
Cincinnati Police Investigation FAQ
When you’re concerned that you may be a suspect in a Cincinnati police investigation, you may have questions about what to expect and how to prepare.
We have answered the more common questions surrounding Cincinnati police investigations below. If you have additional questions, reach out to LHA to further discuss your concerns.
How Long Can the Police Detain Me Without Charging Me?
If you are not free to leave police custody, you are being detained. Under the law, the maximum time police can keep you in custody is 48 hours. However, these 48 hours do not include weekends or holidays.
In theory, you could spend up to 72 hours in police custody without being charged before the police have to release you.
How Long Do Investigations Take?
The time it will take to conduct a police investigation can vary considerably depending on the case. It can take as little as a few months to a year to resolve the investigation for many criminal cases. But for felonies, you have the right to a speedy trial within 270 of the date of your initial arrest.
Should I Go to the Station With the Police?
No. Unless the police are placing you under arrest, you should not go down to the police station without speaking with your attorney. At that point, your attorney may agree to meet with you to figure out how to answer law-enforcement questions surrounding any investigation they may have open.
Are Police Allowed To Lie?
Yes, both the Ohio Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have agreed that police have the right to lie to suspects during questioning as part of their investigative techniques.
It is not unusual for police to tell suspects that they have more evidence than they do, that a friend of theirs has turned on them, or that they can get you a deal if you work with them. They are often hoping that by lying, you will either confess or say something to incriminate yourself.
What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges?
The main difference between a misdemeanor and felony charges is that misdemeanors will often carry less harsh penalties than felony charges will. For example, if you were to be convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you could spend up to six months in jail. But if you were convicted of a first-degree felony, then you could spend life in prison.
Contact a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorney
When you discover that police are investigating you and you want to do everything possible to protect yourself and avoid penalties associated with a criminal conviction, make sure you have a dedicated attorney on your side.