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Pre-Arrest Investigations: The Way You Conduct Yourself Before an Arrest Can Affect Your Case


Criminal investigations occur in two phases; before an arrest (pre-arrest) and after an arrest (post-arrest). Pre-arrest investigations can last for a short time or for a considerably long time, depending on the situation. For instance, a pre-arrest investigation after a traffic stop may take a short time, whereas a pre-arrest investigation in a high-profile criminal case might take longer. Regardless of the situation, the way you conduct yourself during a pre-arrest investigation can determine whether you get arrested or not. Your conduct can also impact the charges law enforcers file against you and ultimately your case’s outcome.

A Pre-Arrest Investigation Is a Crucial Phase in Any Criminal Case

In the United States, law enforcement officers must have probable cause for arrest. A police officer cannot arrest you based on a hunch. They need to have objective circumstances that led them to believe you committed a particular crime. To establish probable cause, law enforcers usually investigate the scene of a suspected crime. For example, after a police officer stops you at a traffic stop, they might decide to investigate and look for intoxication signs. If you say something or show an officer something that makes them believe you are intoxicated, they might investigate further by asking you to take a field sobriety test. If an officer sees or hears nothing that points to a possible criminal violation, they will end their investigation and finalize the traffic offense you were stopped for.

In other high-profile criminal situations, law enforcers try to establish probable cause by doing more than investigating the scene of a suspected crime, and questioning a potential suspect. Law enforcers usually go to the extent of interviewing witnesses, and other people who might have useful information.

What To Do After You Become Aware of a Pre-Arrest Investigation

Whether yours is a high-profile criminal situation or the opposite, it would be best if you acted prudently to ensure you do not harm your case. Considering police officers are highly-trained professionals with years of experience in interrogating people and making them incriminate themselves, the first thing you should do when you become aware of a pre-arrest investigation is to be cautious about what you say. Talking to law enforcers can make or break your case. It would generally be a good idea to provide law enforcers with information such as your name, residence address, or driver’s license. Nonetheless, you do not have to answer an officer’s questions, especially if you feel you might incriminate yourself if you answer them. It is advisable you politely refuse to answer questions in the absence of your attorney.

Immediately you politely refuse to answer questions, contact your attorney. Do not worry about law enforcers not hearing your side of the story, because you will still get to share your side of the story in your attorney’s presence. Your attorney will help you avoid incriminating yourself and prevent the prosecution from twisting your words in the future; something you might not be able to do for yourself if you answer questions in their absence.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are afraid of being charged and convicted of a crime, contact the office of NYC criminal attorney Mark I. Cohen Esq. today to receive legal guidance on how to proceed with your case and proper legal representation.



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