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Montgomery County Criminal Investigations
It is absolutely possible for a criminal case and investigation to go on for several years. In Maryland there is no statute of limitations on felony cases, which means that prosecutors are permitted to investigate these cases for as long as they need to in order to try to establish that there was a basis to conduct an arrest.
On the other side of that, it is your right under the Sixth Amendment to receive a speedy trial. A Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with these constitutional principles can argue to the court that if an arrest took too long to establish, there was not a basis for that length of time to have elapsed. If you are prejudiced by that period of time elapsing in terms of your defense, then that might be a good basis for the court to dismiss the case and reject a criminal prosecution, because it would be violating your Sixth Amendment rights.
Being The Target of An Investigation
Law enforcement can target you for any reason that they want to, but usually they are targeting you if someone has tipped them off that you are involved in something illegal. This could occur when another person is arrested for illegal activity and the officers have asked them questions which lead them to you. It happens most often in drug distribution cases where someone has been caught with a small amount of a controlled dangerous substance. They are then asked questions about where they got that controlled dangerous substance and they indicate or name a person who sold it to them. That person then becomes the next target of the officer’s investigation.
Steps to Take If Under Investigation
If you learn that you are being investigated, even before an arrest takes place, it is absolutely important that you contact an attorney right away. An attorney can find out for you not only who is investigating you but also what stage of the investigation you are in. If there is a warrant already out for your arrest, they can assist you in resolving the arrest warrant and dealing with any bond issues you need to be prepared for. They can also help make sure that you are released as soon as possible from custody once you are arrested on that warrant.
Finally, a Montgomery County criminal defense attorney can be very effective in assisting you in making sure that you are taking precautions in your own actions. They can also assist you in gathering as much evidence as possible to show why the criminal investigation is wrong or that the information is consistent with your innocence, while you are still not incarcerated.
Signs You Are Being Investigated
Red flags you are being investigated would include your bank accounts being seized, police officers sending you notifications asking you for interviews, your friends or family members being asked questions about you, or you losing your employment because of a fraud or theft that has been alleged against you. Those are the red flags that you are being investigated for something.
It is also possible that the prosecution will continue their investigations into a person’s case even after the person is arrested.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is very helpful to find somebody with experience in exactly the arena in which you are being criminally charged, regardless of what arena that is. For example, if you are charged with a DUI offense, it will be important to work with an attorney who has experience in handling those kinds of cases. If you are charged with a homicide, it will be important to hire an attorney who is experienced with handling that kind of case.
Most importantly, you must have an attorney who is familiar with the jurisdiction in which you are charged. A criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Montgomery County court system, its prosecutors, and its police officers will be much more efficient and effective in resolving your matter than an attorney who comes from another jurisdiction.
How a Montgomery County Criminal Attorney Can Help
Probably the most important option that you can discuss with your attorney will be ways to get your case thrown out before the matter even reaches the court room or a grand jury. You may be able to come to a resolution with the prosecution on the case before it gets to court, in an effort to minimize the damage or impact that it has on you personally. Additionally, if local law enforcement officials are conducting investigations, an experienced lawyer will be able to help you deal with the process and protect your rights. In preparing for your defense, a lawyer who has handled criminal cases before will know how to conduct a defense-side investigation that will help their client.
For example, in financial crimes cases prosecutors are often inclined to work with defense counsel in advance of indicting a case just because of the sheer volume of cases and the records associated with them. Potential resolution of the case might only involve the client paying back restitution that is owed or the amount of money outstanding in exchange for a potential dismissal of the charges and closing of the investigation.
Relationship with Prosecutors
In other cases that might be more serious in nature, a prosecutor who does not want to potentially spend months in a courtroom litigating a case, might be inclined to offer someone a resolution of a case in advance of going to court or even in advance of charging that case. This could save everybody a great deal of time and effort in prosecuting, which might end up benefiting the defendant to a great degree. This is why it is incredibly important to hire a local Montgomery County criminal lawyer who has built relationships with prosecutors.