Have you learned that law enforcement has begun investigating you for a crime? Police and prosecutors frequently conduct pre-file investigations before deciding whether to file charges against a suspect. You have critical rights and opportunities during a pre-file investigation, including the opportunity to conduct your investigation to find evidence that clears you of any criminal suspicion. A pre-file investigations attorney can help you understand your legal rights during a criminal investigation, work to build a compelling case that demonstrates your innocence and advocate on your behalf with police and prosecutors.
When you come under criminal investigation, a pre-file investigation by an experienced attorney can help you avoid an embarrassing arrest and prosecution. Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration for a legal case evaluation to learn how our firm can advocate for your rights and reputation. We pride ourselves on offering aggressive, dependable legal representation to those facing the criminal justice system. Our attorneys provide the one-on-one attention and dedicated advocacy you need. Our firm has received “Best of Las Vegas” recognition from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and honors from Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.
A pre-file investigation refers to the criminal investigation that occurs before police and prosecutors decide to arrest and charge someone with a crime. Prosecutors perform pre-file investigations to obtain evidence to establish probable cause to file criminal charges against someone. Prosecutors will usually continue investigating a criminal suspect until they have enough evidence to ensure they can obtain a conviction at trial.
Defense attorneys also perform pre-file investigations on behalf of criminal suspects. A defense pre-file investigation looks for exculpatory evidence that proves a suspect’s innocence. They’ll use the evidence to convince prosecutors not to file charges or file less serious charges against a suspect.
Police may not explicitly inform someone that they’ve become the subject of a criminal investigation. Signs that you have come under investigation for a crime include:
You should contact a criminal defense attorney when you learn you’ve been under criminal investigation. A pre-file investigation by a defense attorney can help you avoid an arrest that may disrupt or jeopardize your personal and professional relationships.
During a pre-file investigation, prosecutors or defense attorneys will gather evidence of a suspect’s guilt or innocence from a variety of sources, such as:
Once prosecutors have completed their pre-file investigation, they will evaluate the evidence and decide whether to charge a suspect and what charges to file against them. Suppose the suspect has retained legal counsel that conducted a pre-file investigation. In that case, defense attorneys may meet with prosecutors to present exculpatory evidence, discuss the case’s merits, and hopefully dissuade prosecutors from filing charges.
Pre-file investigations can take time, ranging from a few days to over a year. The duration of a pre-file investigation will depend on various factors, including the amount and complexity of the evidence, the involvement of forensic evidence, and witness cooperation. When a crime has a long statute of limitations or no statute of limitations (the period within which charges must be brought), investigators may take as much time as necessary to obtain sufficient evidence to build an extremely persuasive case.
When you discover that the police have opened an investigation against you, you can take steps to protect your legal rights and interests. First, you should refrain from agreeing to speak with the police until you consult a criminal defense attorney. Investigators may try to convince you to answer questions by encouraging you to “tell your side of the story” or “clear your name.”
However, law enforcement officers have extensive experience interrogating suspects and asking questions that get them to reveal damaging information. Remember that you do not have to answer questions from the police since you have the right to remain silent. Despite what police may tell you, remaining silent will not hurt you since prosecutors cannot use your silence as evidence of guilt.
You should also refrain from trying to alter, destroy, or dispose of anything that may serve as evidence related to potential criminal charges. Doing so may lead prosecutors to charge you with obstructing justice.
Finally, contact a pre-file investigations attorney as soon as possible to start your investigation to obtain evidence proving your innocence. An effective pre-file investigation may help you avoid an arrest or convince prosecutors to file less serious charges.
A pre-file investigations attorney can help relieve the anxiety and stress you may feel when you learn that the police have begun investigating you for a criminal offense. Reach out to a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights by:
If you’ve learned that law enforcement has begun investigating you, you need seasoned legal counsel who can perform a pre-file investigation to defend your reputation and freedom. Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration today for a confidential consultation to discuss how a pre-file investigation might prevent your arrest and prosecution.