Being labeled a suspect in a criminal investigation can be concerning. In this situation, it's important you are aware of the protections afforded to you by the Constitution, the state, and local laws.
If you believe that the police are reaching out to you about a criminal investigation, don't hesitate to exercise these important rights:
The right to an attorney
This is one of the most important rights that you should take advantage of. If you are worried that you are now a suspect in a criminal investigation, you first and immediate move should be to obtain legal representation. With the assistance of an attorney, you can avoid making serious mistakes that can lead to criminal charges.
The right to remain silent
Regardless of the circumstance, you have the right to remain silent. If the police pose any questions to you about an alleged crime, you can “plead the fifth” to prevent yourself from making any incriminating statements. Law enforcement has the authority to do many things that you can't. They can lie to you, they can trick you into saying what they want you to hear, and they can take what you say out of context. The only time you should speak to authorities is if you have an attorney present to advise you.
The right to privacy
Over the course of an investigation, the police may ask you if they can search your vehicle, home, other property, or even you. This is a tactic that the police uses to get you to waive your 4th Amendment rights - which protect you from unauthorized searches and seizures. Even if you feel like there isn't anything questionable on your property, the answer to a search request should always be no. If you consent, anything they find - whether you're aware that it was there or not - can be used to constitute an arrest.
The right to leave
The only times you have to stick around and talk to law enforcement is when you're about to get arrested or you've been read your Miranda rights under the 5th Amendment. To distinguish between a simple questioning and a potential attempt for arrest, your best strategy is to ask. If an officer confirms that you aren't being arrested, you can, and should exercise your right to leave that situation. And immediately after that you should leave immediately contact an attorney to plan your next course of action.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you think you're a suspect in a criminal investigation, protecting yourself should be your main priority. The most effective way of doing so is to retain a skilled Chester County criminal defense attorney. Legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented countless clients who've acquired misdemeanor and felony charges and has helped them get their sentence reduced, and their charges dismissed. For a case evaluation, contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353.