What to Expect in a Criminal Investigation
A criminal investigation can be a very stressful and confusing time for you. Below are frequently asked questions and answers to guide you, or a loved one, when facing a criminal investigation:
Q: Do I need an attorney during a criminal investigation?
A: Not always- but it is highly recommended. An attorney will be able to ensure that law enforcement officials are properly, ethically, and legally conducting said investigation. The U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution provide an abundance of protections to those who are under criminal investigation. As such, an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected.
Q: I cannot afford an attorney during a criminal investigation, what do I do?
A: One way to ensure that your rights during an investigation are protected is to consult with an attorney, rather than hiring an attorney, during a criminal investigation. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and how to protect yourself, as well as a loved one, from improper or even illegal investigation tactics. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney if you cannot afford one to ensure you are aware of your rights.
Q: A Detective or law enforcement officer wants to talk to me, what do I do?
A: Many people are overwhelmed during a criminal investigation. Though the need to vocalize your innocence may seem important to you, it is recommended that you allow an attorney to assist you through this process. Any information that you or a loved one may provide to law enforcement may be used against you one in a court of law. Remember that you are afforded the right to remain silent pursuant to Constitutional law. Thus, it is recommended that you consult an attorney first, prior to making a statement to law enforcement during a criminal investigation to ensure that your rights are protected.
Q: Do I have to answer questions from the police?
A: You have no legal duty to answer questions from law enforcement or a detective. Citizens are encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement, but every citizen has the right to remain silent. However, should you decide to cooperate with law enforcement prior to speaking with an attorney, it is recommended that you make truthful statements.
Should you decide that you do not want to answer any questions during the investigation, you may invoke your right to remain silent by stating “I refuse to answer any questions” or “I wish to remain silent” or words to that effect.
Investigations are very complicated, stressful, and can turn your life upside down. It is tempting to handle these matters on your own. Some are fearful that is a sign of guilt to obtain legal representation. This is simply not true. Obtaining legal representation may be the only way to protect your constitutional rights and to allow you to keep your freedom.
Our team is more than prepared to assist you, or a loved one, in dealing with a criminal investigation. In order to protect your legal rights, please contact White Law Office, Co. immediately should you, or a loved one, become the subject of a criminal investigation.