The police often conduct a criminal investigation before charging someone with a crime in North Carolina. If you are worried that law enforcement officials are investigating you, you should immediately retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. You must also understand the warning signs that you are under criminal investigation to protect your rights.
Do the Police Have to Advise You That You Are Being Investigated?
No, the police do not have to tell you that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation. Even if they go to your home or bring you to the police station for questioning, they do not have to inform you that they are investigating you.
What Are the Warning Signs That You Are Under Investigation?
There are several warning signs that you are the subject of a criminal investigation. Here are some of the most common ones to watch for.
The Police Contact or Visit You
One of the strongest signs you are being investigated is that law enforcement officials contact you. They could call or text you or leave their card at your door with a request to contact them. They may also go to your home and ask you to go to the police station for questioning or visit you at your job.
When contacting you, they may suggest that they are asking you questions as a witness. However, they could also be investigating you as a suspect and searching for information.
Law Enforcement Officials Contact Your Friends and Family
Another indicator that you are being investigated is that the police contact your friends, family, or co-workers requesting information about you. This is a red flag that you are the subject of a criminal investigation.
The Police Are Engaging in Surveillance
During their pre-arrest investigation, law enforcement officials could lurk around your home or workplace to surveil you. They could also follow you and may switch vehicles to try to hide their surveillance of you. This could go on for days or longer. If you see suspicious unmarked cars or police cars outside your home or behind you while driving for long periods, this is a sign that you are under surveillance.
Warrants Are Issued
Another telltale sign that you are being investigated is if a search warrant is issued to allow the police to search your cellphone, internet, or financial records. In extreme cases, they could obtain a search warrant to search your home or other property or to seize your computer or cellphone.
You Receive Strange Friend Requests
If you get friend requests from people you do not know, this could be another sign that you are being investigated. Police officers sometimes create fake profiles to conduct more extensive searches of a suspect’s social media sites for evidence to use against them.
What Should You Do if You Believe You Are Being Investigated?
If you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you have important constitutional rights as a suspect. You must understand and exercise your rights. Here are the steps you should take:
- Remain silent. You do not have to answer the officer’s questions. You should exercise your right to remain silent. Otherwise, you could make incriminating statements, or the police could trick you into confessing.
- Stay off social media. Stay off social media sites, and don’t friend people you do not know. You do not want to give the police evidence to justify arresting you.
- Require a search warrant. In most cases, the police must obtain a search warrant to search you or your property. You should not consent to a search if they do not have a required warrant.
- Retain an attorney. If you suspect you are being investigated, you should immediately retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help you during the pre-arrest stage of your criminal case by conducting their own investigation, contacting the police, and representing you during any interrogations.
Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charlotte, NC?
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.