You might not be immediately aware if you are being investigated for a crime since there’s no list or database to check. However, other signs might suggest you are being investigated for a crime.
The criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law know this is frustrating. Our attorneys can help you with the common signs of an investigation, your rights when under investigation, and police investigation tactics. We can also consult you on what to do in your interactions with the police and how our lawyers can help.
How to Tell If You Are Being Investigated by Police
You should look for these common signs you’re under police investigation:
- The police contact you — If the police call you, visit you at home or work, or leave their business card at your home or work, they may be investigating you.
- The police ask others about you — The police may be investigating you if they approach your family members, friends, or colleagues with questions about you.
- The police are following you — If you notice that the police are following or watching you, you might be under investigation. For example, if an unmarked police car is parked outside of your home or place of work for hours, they may be investigating you.
- You get strange social media requests — Police have started to use social media to conduct investigations. For example, they may create a fake social media account and try to befriend you online to gather information. If you receive a strange social media friend request or message from someone you do not know, you should be careful.
Know Your Rights During an Investigation
Whether you’re being investigated or not, you have fundamental rights that you need to know about and protect in your interactions with police. These rights include:
- Fourth Amendment — The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure. That means the police must have the warrant to search you or your property. To get a search warrant, the police must provide probable cause so that evidence of a crime will be found. If the police ask to search your home, car, or other property, ask if they have a search warrant. If they don’t, do not consent to the search.
- Fifth Amendment — The Fifth Amendment protects several rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to due process. If the police ask you questions, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. You should also speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
- Sixth Amendment — The Sixth Amendment states that anyone accused of a crime has the right to legal representation. You should exercise this right as soon as you believe you are under investigation.
Are Police Allowed to Lie to You and Vice Versa?
The police are allowed to lie to you. However, you cannot lie to them. That might sound unfair, but that’s what the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the 1969 Frazier v. Cupp case. The law says that police can use deceptive interrogation tactics. For example, they can tell you they have a witness who saw you commit a crime, even if that witness does not exist. They can even tell you they have forensic evidence tying you to a crime when there is no evidence.
However, knowingly providing a false statement to the police could result in criminal charges. Before telling the police anything, you should talk with a criminal defense lawyer to protect yourself.
Should Someone Ever Cooperate with the Police and Speak to Them Without a Lawyer?
You might think you can help your case by cooperating with the police. But in some instances, it could get you into trouble. That’s why it is recommended that you not cooperate with the police without first consulting with a lawyer. Remember that anything you say or do could be used against you. Make sure to have a lawyer present to help protect your rights.
How Do Miranda Rights Affect an Investigation?
Miranda rights are a series of statements that police must read to a person when they are arrested. The Miranda warning is the result of the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, the Court ruled that police must inform a person of their Fifth Amendment rights before questioning if they want to use their statements at trial.
The Miranda rights state: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
If you hear this warning, immediately ask for your lawyer, then say nothing.
Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in New Jersey
If you believe you might be under police investigation, act quickly to protect your rights. You should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, like the ones at Keith Oliver Criminal Law. Our New Jersey defense lawyers believe everyone deserves a strong, sophisticated defense. We will work hard to preserve your freedom and future. Contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law today to speak with one of our lawyers about your concerns.