Montgomery County Pre-Arrest Investigations
Before someone is typically indicted for any kind of criminal activity it is common for an extensive investigation to take place. When this happens, it is important a Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer is contacted as they can ensure that the person does not incriminate themselves any further and that their rights are never violated while being investigated. Therefore even if you have yet to be arrested, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to discuss your case.
Tools and Tactics
There are different divisions of the police department which handle different kinds of investigations. For example, there will be special detectives who have experience handling murder cases or homicides, others who are specially trained to handle child abuse cases, others have special skills with domestic violence or sex offense cases, and finally there will also be many officers who will handle DUI enforcement as well. So those are probably the most common areas of focus which the police departments will have in Montgomery County.
Usually they will do everything from interviewing as many witnesses as they possibly can, to getting surveillance from locations where incidents might have taken place, to getting prosecutors to show which information supported the arrest. Confessions from the defendant themselves are one example of this. This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to make sure you do not get yourself into a position where you are assisting the government in building a case against you.
Who Conducts Investigations For Montgomery County
Investigations can be conducted by investigators of the State’s Attorney’s office, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Maryland State Police, or federal authorities like the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Secret Service or other agencies. There are many different agencies which conduct investigations for Montgomery County cases.
How Investigation Leads to Arrests
In terms of how much investigation goes into an arrest, it does not always amount to a great deal of investigation. Usually all that an officer needs to arrest somebody is something called probable cause.
Probable cause is a standard that allows an officer to arrest if they believe they have a reasonable amount of good evidence showing the person whom they have arrested has committed some criminal activity. This does not require them to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt at that stage, but rather simply enough information to have probable cause to arrest. Generally a prosecutor will want to take more than just the information that they use to arrest somebody to the grand jury in order to support an indictment. Although that is not always the case, it is often the case that they present more than just the information that they have upon an arrest, which will require additional investigation on their part.
Length of An Investigation Before An Arrest
The length of time a Montgomery County officer investigates before they conduct an arrest is going to vary depending on the kind of case. In a shoplifting case they might arrest somebody on the spot. In that situation they do not need to conduct any further investigations beyond perhaps a witness indicating that somebody has shoplifted. In a multimillion dollar bank fraud case they might investigate the matter for several years before effecting an arrest, because it will take them that much time to gather the records they need to establish probable cause to arrest somebody. The length of time they investigate depends entirely on the charges.
Elements of a Pre-Arrest Investigation
The authorities will speak to any witnesses who are associated with the case. They will also speak to witnesses who might know particular individuals in order to assess the credibility of that individual before they are charged. Also, they would certainly speak to potential experts who will be able to explain certain aspects of the case.
Common experts whom we see in the DUI cases, for example, might testify as to why someone may have been acting in a certain way while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also in possession with intent to distribute cases the government authorities or investigators might consult with experts who would share with them what possession of a certain quantity of illegal substances might mean in terms of someone’s involvement in criminal activities.
Who Authorities Will Speak to
They certainly can talk to your employers, family or your friends, and all these people have the ability during the investigation stage to decline to talk to the police if they wish. However, it should not be you, the person who is being investigated, who is obstructing someone from talking to the police because this could lead to additional charge against you for obstruction of justice or witness tampering.