Are you being investigated for a DUI crime in San Diego?
If you are in San Diego, or the surrounding county, and are being investigated for any crime, immediate action is required to ensure that your rights are not being violated, and that you are not doing anything that might compromise your case. The criminal process and the need to protect your rights can begin even before you are arrested or charged. If investigators are contacting you, that usually indicates that they are gathering information and evidence before they make an arrest. Once sufficient information has been collected, you will be arrested. In this situation, timing is critical and any mistakes made while talking with law enforcement can be extremely damaging. It is critical that you protect your rights, as well as the integrity of your case, by retaining the assistance of a defense attorney before answering any questions.
Law enforcement officials have specialized training in eliciting information to support their case. Given their expertise, and the stressful nature of being questioned by law enforcement officials, many people disclose more than they should. This information can later be used to convict you in court. It is essential that you do not talk to law enforcement until you have secured the assistance of an attorney.
How the Lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney Can Help?
One of the services we offer at the San Diego DUI Attorney Law Firm, is the expert representation of our clients from the pre-filing stage through the conclusion of the court case, if it is needed. Often a law enforcement officer will contact a client, in person or by phone, asking about an alleged crime before charges have been filled. The officer may also contact potential suspects and witnesses. Having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney by your side at this time can mean the difference between being arrested and avoiding charges altogether. Often, cases involving a pre-filing period include domestic violence, hit and run, white collar crime (e.g. embezzlement or employee theft), other financial crimes, or any other alleged crime requiring the corroboration of witness statements. Sometimes these investigations continue for months. Knowing that your attorney is diligently ensuring your rights and protecting your interests during this time can relieve fear and anxiety and bring you peace of mind.
If you suspect you may be under investigation, do not hesitate to call our office. All communications are held in strict confidence and we will meet in the privacy and security of our office to prevent any monitoring of our meeting. If a law enforcement officer contacts you, remember that you have the right to remain silent. Call today to schedule a FREE initial consultation at 619-535-7150.
The time period before any formal charges have been brought against you is known as the “pre-filing stage”. Depending on the nature of the crime in question, it may take investigators months to build their case against you. During this pre-filing stage, investigators may contact you, your family, or others you are associated with. Officers may also search your property during this time if they have a valid search warrant. You are not required to provide any information during this questioning. If you suspect you are being investigated, do not wait to hire an attorney until you are arrested or for charges to be filed. An experienced defense attorney can begin researching your case and can advise you on how to respond to law enforcement, which could be a factor in whether or not investigators have enough evidence to arrest you. Additionally, an attorney can reach out to law enforcement early in the process to deter potentially damaging interviews, line-ups, fingerprinting, or other methods of gathering evidence against you. A criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are protected, work to minimize allegations, and often can informally resolve issues in your case to avoid criminal charges from being filed. If prosecution is unavoidable, the work an attorney is able to do during the pre-filing stage helps clients request a voluntary surrender to avoid being arrested in public. Additionally, an attorney involved in the pre-filing stage is able to assist with arranging bail to minimize the client’s stay in custody.
What Happens While I am Under Investigation?
As noted above, how long it will take the San Diego Police Department investigators to build a case strong enough to warrant an arrest will vary depending on the type of crime and the available evidence. While the police are investigating, you will not have yet been arrested, and are simply a suspect. Even so, you, and a number of your friends, family, and acquaintances will likely be contacted and questioned. As such, the less information you share with friends and family, the better. Remember, at this stage, no one is obligated to answer the investigators’ questions.
Thinking you might be under investigation can be extremely stressful, and often times embarrassing. Finding the right attorney during the investigation will relieve a lot of stress, and give you the best chance building a strong defense. For example, your attorney can immediately begin researching your case, and counseling you as to how, and when, you should respond to investigators. Your attorney can also ensure that all evidence gathering including finger-printing, line-ups, photo arrays, and other investigative tactics are done in full accordance with the law. Further, your attorney might even be able to informally resolve your case with the District Attorney’s Office before any charges are actually filed against you. Doing so will avoid a number of potential penalties, and relive a lot of stress. While a pre-charge resolution is often ideal, in some cases, prosecution cannot be avoided. If you are formally charged, your attorney can seek to arrange a voluntary surrender to reduce embarrassment and stigma of arrest, and help with bail arrangements to ensure you are in jail no longer than necessary.
Why Shouldn’t You Talk to the Police?
Remember, you cannot be arrested on the basis of information that the police don’t have. The police investigator’s job is to discover enough evidence to show probable cause for your arrest. The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution requires that probable cause exist before an arrest warrant can be issued. Probable cause is said to exist when there are facts and circumstances sufficient to convince a reasonable person that a crime has been committed, or is being committed. Surprisingly, suspects will often make the investigator’s job too easy by, without even knowing it, voluntarily providing them with enough information to meet this standard. This is why it’s best not to talk in the event that you are questioned by an investigating officer. Investigators are well trained, and know exactly what answers they are looking for. Any information you provide the investigator can ultimately be used against you in trial; don’t do their job for them.
An investigator, Tom, is assigned to figure out who hit a parked vehicle, and then fled the scene on Saturday morning. During his investigation, he interviews the owner of the parked vehicle, and the owner’s neighbors. Tom is told that there is a man who regularly drives drunk, and late at night, on the street where the hit and run occurred.
Later, Tom notices a car that seems to have recently been in an accident. Tom photographs the car for his records. Tom then talks to the owner of the car, Dan. During the conversation, Tom learns that Dan was out drinking the night before the accident, and had recently been in a minor car accident. Dan also told Tom that he was at his friend Albert’s house at the time of the accident. Even so, Tom is convinced that Dan was responsible for the hit and run. Tom questions Albert, and gets him to reveal that Dan was, in fact, not with him at the time of the accident. Tom’s investigation of Dan, his car, and the fact that he lied about his whereabouts, was sufficient to obtain a warrant. That same day, Dan is arrested and charged with a DUI hit and run.
1Brinegar v. U.S. 338 U.S. 160, at 175-176
This case is a perfect example of suspect voluntarily providing too much information. Dan probably even thought he was helping his case by providing the alibi that he was with Albert. However, all this actually did was provide Tom another person to question. Before questioning Albert, Tom probably would not have been issued a warrant and he would have had to continue looking for evidence. Even though Tom likely would have gotten enough evidence later on down the road, he cut short the amount of time Dan could have been preparing his defense.
Why Shouldn’t I Tell Other People About my Conduct?
The main reason why you should not tell other people about your conduct, is because you are not likely to be the only one questioned. Investigators know how to find the people that are close to you, and likely to have relevant information. They also know the right questions to ask. Many times, your friends or family might not realize the information they provide will ultimately not be in your best interest. The police know how to make the piece of information they are looking for seem harmless. Therefore, even though you may trust someone, anything you tell them has the potential to be later uncovered by the investigator. Unless absolutely necessary, it is almost always in your best interest not to disclose your conduct to friends and family. Rather, you should consult an attorney who knows how to protect your rights.
If you are under investigation for a DUI, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney Law Firm today for your FREE DUI Consultation.
San Diego Police Department Investigators have been extensively trained, and know exactly what to ask when obtaining incriminating information in an effort to build a strong case against you. Often times, either out of fear, or because they feel compelled to respond, people will provide investigators with significantly more information than necessary. Please understand that you are under no obligation to talk to an investigator who approaches you. Even if you are under arrest, you should be read your Miranda rights which remind you of your right to remain silent, and to an attorney. Regardless of when, or how, you are questioned, it is best that you do not respond until you have consulted your attorney. Your attorney will know what measures to take to protect your rights during the investigation.
If you live in San Diego County, and are concerned that you are under investigation for a DUI, or any crime, it is extremely important that you seek the counsel of an attorney immediately. Many defense firms, including the San Diego DUI Attorney Law Firm, are here to ensure that your rights are protected, and offer FREE consultations. If you are being investigated, it is crucial that you are careful to avoid saying, or doing, anything that might help build a case against you. It might seem obvious, but if investigators are contacting you, or contacting your friends and family about you, you are being investigated. You should not take these situations lightly, or assume that you are not a suspect. Once enough evidence is gathered against you, you can be arrested and charged with the crime. Hiring a defense firm early in the process gives your attorneys the ability to start preparing your defense before the investigators can build a strong case against you. Our team at the San Diego DUI Attorney Law Firm can protect your rights, and the strength of your case.
As you can see, there are a number of benefits to hiring an attorney at the outset of the criminal process; this includes the investigation process. Having an attorney during the investigation might be the difference between a pre-charge dismissal, and an arrest. The lawyers at the San Diego DUI Attorney Law Firm will be there to protect your rights every step of the way.