When police put someone under investigation for a crime, it usually means they’re building a case. So, if you’re under investigation but have not been charged yet, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to charge you.
It means they’re gathering the evidence they need so they can charge you. For this reason, it’s imperative that the first step you take is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer such as those at Alberta Legal. Everything you do after that point will be directed by your lawyer, but here are a few things to keep in mind.
Do Not Speak To The Police
Even if you have nothing to hide, speaking to the police can give them permission to search your home or car and use anything you say against you later after you are charged. Police officers and detectives are trained to elicit confessions or at least to get people to say things they otherwise might not say.
They will try to convince you that speaking to them is in your best interest so they can clear you. That is not what they’re doing, especially if you’re already under investigation.
If you decide to speak to the police, do so with your lawyer present. They will ensure you don’t say anything that could harm you or make your situation worse. Your lawyer will carefully analyze each question the investigator or officer asks you to make sure it’s one you can answer without incriminating yourself.
Additionally, if you do have valuable information about a crime, your lawyer can make sure you get credit for cooperating with the police, which is not something you can do on your own.
Do Not Sign Anything
The police might try to get you to sign a statement or other document just acknowledging that you’ve seen it. Politely tell the officer that you are not going to sign anything without your lawyer present.
They can’t force you to sign anything and you’re well within your rights to contact a criminal defence lawyer to review any written document before you sign it. If and only if your lawyer agrees that you can sign a document to acknowledge receipt, then you may do so.
Until that point, though, you probably aren’t knowledgeable enough to understand exactly what it is they want you to sign. This is not a knock on your intelligence.
Your lawyer has the education and skills necessary to assess documents and determine their legal importance down the road. You don’t want to get yourself in deeper trouble by signing something that can come back to haunt you later.
Call A Lawyer Before You’re Charged
This can’t be reiterated enough. Just because you haven’t been charged doesn’t mean you don’t have legal rights. You do and you should take advantage of them by contacting a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you realize you’re under investigation. The sooner you have a lawyer in your corner, the better off your defense will be.
Hiring a criminal defence lawyer while you’re under investigation doesn’t make you guilty. It makes you smart. Protect your rights immediately by contacting a lawyer immediately.