Being under police investigation in Ohio can be overwhelming. When law enforcement has reasons to believe that you may have been involved in a criminal offense, they may begin to investigate you.
If you have started receiving calls or knocks on your door requesting an interview from the Cincinnati Police or another local law enforcement agency, you may be unsure of what to do next — here’s what you need to know.
Signs of a Pre-Charge Investigation in Ohio
Before the prosecutor files formal criminal charges against you, law enforcement will open an investigation into the criminal offense in question. The investigation process is generally as follows:
- Police review forensic evidence
- The evidence leads police to potential suspects
- Law enforcement questions suspects
If law enforcement officials believe they have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, they will turn your case over to the state’s prosecutor so formal criminal charges can be filed against you.
However, there may be signs that you are under investigation for a criminal offense in Cincinnati before your arrest. Some of the pre-charge investigation signs you can look out for include the following:
Police Contact Your Loved Ones
One of the first things you might notice is the police questioning your friends, spouse or partner, colleagues, friends, and family to learn more about you. This may signify their interest in gathering as much information as possible about who you are so they can link you to the crime in question.
Police Ask You to Go to The Police Station
If police ask you to go down to the police station, you should not go before you speak to your criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can meet with you to determine how to answer law enforcement officials’ questions and avoid potential self-incrimination.
You Notice Police Vehicles Nearby
If you notice an increase in the number of unmarked cars or police vehicles seen near your home, work, or while you are out in public, you may be under police surveillance.
If police are watching you, you could be a suspect in a criminal investigation. Contact a criminal defense lawyer for help immediately if you have these suspicions.
You Get Social Media Friend Requests or Follows from Strangers
When you begin receiving follows or friend requests from people you don’t know on social media, these could be law enforcement officials. Do not approve these requests when you have reason to believe you may be under police investigation.
Do You Have to Meet with Police & Answer Questions?
In most circumstances, you do not have to meet with police and answer their questions. You have specific rights when you are under police investigation. These include:
- You Don’t Have to submit to police questioning – If police ask you to come down to the station for an interview, you can obtain the officer’s contact information and then reach out to your attorney.
- You have the right to remain silent – When police hope to question you, politely say you’re invoking your right to remain silent and that you would like an attorney.
- You have the right to an attorney – Whether you are a suspect in a criminal investigation or police simply want to question you, you have the right to an attorney. It’s critical to protect yourself when so many are wrongfully accused.
A Lawyer Can Advise You Before Charges Are Filed
When you believe you are under police investigation, your lawyer can help you:
- Understand your rights when you are being investigated
- Understand the severity of the potential charges you are facing
- Work with police to clear up the matter
- Work with the prosecutor to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed if formally filed
- Prepare a compelling defense strategy at trial
If you believe you are the subject of a police investigation in Hamilton County, or if you suspect that you will be charged with a crime, make sure you have a dedicated legal defender fighting for you.
Meet With a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are under police investigation or you suspect that you are being investigated by police, and you do not know where to turn for help, reach out to an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates.
We can help you protect your rights and defend yourself if formal charges are filed. Contact our office by phone at (513) 338-1890 or through our convenient contact form when you are ready to retain a powerful legal advocate.