Criminal Investigations Defense Lawyer in New Jersey
When the police say they want to ask you a few questions, your first impulse might be to cooperate with them. But this is rarely a good idea. Law enforcement usually won’t talk to you unless they suspect something, and anything you say can and will be used against you.
Before making a statement, get an experienced criminal investigation lawyer on your side. The New Jersey attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law defend people accused of crimes ranging from DUIs to murder. You have a constitutional right to legal counsel, and now is the time to leverage that protection. Our firm has handled thousands of criminal cases ranging from investigations all the way to jury trials. We know what it takes to succeed in every jurisdiction we serve.
If you are the subject of a criminal investigation, we’re available anytime. Call or contact us now for a free consultation.
What is the Purpose of a Police Investigation?
The objective of any criminal investigation is to uncover the truth about a crime. The ultimate purpose is to make an arrest — and these two distinct goals don’t always align. At the end of the day, if you are questioned by law enforcement, chances are good that you are under investigation.
When many of us think about criminal evidence, we think of DNA, witness statements, and fingerprints. However, some of the most incriminating evidence may be your own words. The easiest way for police to make an arrest is to get you to confess or make statements that allow them to file charges against you.
Tricks Police Officers Use During an Investigation
You cannot lie to the police. But investigators don’t have to be straight with you. While law enforcement agents aren’t permitted to use physical violence to force information out of you, they can lie or make misleading statements while questioning you. Lying or misrepresenting the situation is one of the most common tactics police officers use to pressure suspects into incriminating themselves or confessing to a crime. This strategy is so effective that many suspects falsely confess to crimes they did not commit.
Other tactics that investigators may use to get you to say more than you should include:
- Claiming they know more than they do
- Claiming to have evidence they do not have
- Telling a person that things will be easier or better if they just talk
- Using the “good cop, bad cop” strategy
- Overstating the potential penalties of a conviction
Remember, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. It’s OK to say you’ll wait until you have legal counsel.
How to Know if You are Under Investigation
Between local and federal agencies and departments, many different branches of law enforcement handle criminal investigations. Each one tends to have its own protocol for such matters. So, what are the signs you are under investigation?
Generally, you may be under investigation if you receive phone calls or requests for contact from law enforcement agencies. And if authorities show up at your home or workplace asking questions or serve you a search warrant, you are at least part of a criminal investigation.
Responding to Investigators’ Work
Once in a room with officers, you may feel tempted to talk and clear your name before the investigation gets underway. Wait. A criminal defense attorney can identify when you’re asked unfair or leading questions you don’t need to answer.
Law enforcement has a duty to arrest individuals they believe have committed a crime. But It is the job of criminal defense attorneys to protect their clients’ rights. Unfortunately, there are cases where investigators will behave unethically to achieve their objective. Having an attorney with you is the best way to protect your rights.
White-collar Crimes and Federal Investigations
Federal investigations involving white-collar crimes can be lengthy and extensive. Examples of white-collar crimes include:
- Healthcare fraud
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Tax fraud
- Money laundering
- Drug trafficking
Federal investigations into white-collar crimes require mountains of evidence and witness testimony before being prosecuted. As an investigation into these types of crimes heats up, you may notice a change in law enforcement tactics (e.g., more aggressive questioning, search warrants issued for access to your home, office, or banking information, etc.). Prosecutors want strong evidence of wrongdoing before making an arrest. In other words, you may already be under federal investigation but not charged with a crime.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Never assume that law enforcement is on your side. They have a job to do, and that’s to find their perpetrator. They want you to believe talking to them is in your best interest. It’s not. Talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney is.
You need a criminal defense attorney to shield you from fishy interrogation methods and enforce your rights. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer may prevent an arrest from being made in the first place. And if you get arrested and charged, an attorney can prepare a comprehensive defense strategy for you. Be polite, be respectful, but above all, be proactive. If you suspect you are under investigation or a law enforcement agency wants to ask you questions, consult with a lawyer immediately.
Get Help from a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Now
If law enforcement wants to talk to you, so do we. Contact William Proetta Criminal Law today for a free case review with an experienced investigations defense lawyer.