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Investigation and Questioning

Investigation and questioningIf you are suspected of violating state or federal laws, you may be under investigation. Detectives with local police departments typically investigate serious state-level offenses while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are the agencies responsible for investigating many federal offenses.

 

When a law enforcement officer (LEO) or federal agent shows up at your door, it is imperative you understand your legal rights. Before committing yourself to any questioning, it is advisable to contact a New York City criminal defense lawyer for help.

Bukh Law Firm, PLLC. provides representation to clients accused of state and federal offenses. We can help protect your rights when you are under an investigation for a criminal offense.

 

Investigation of Criminal Offenses

 Investigation for criminal offenses takes many different forms including:

  • Questioning the alleged victim of the offense.
  • Questioning any potential witnesses to the crime.
  • Questioning witnesses who can provide insight into your character and behaviors.
  • Searching your person, home, vehicle, office or other property.
  • Using undercover agents to infiltrate your business.
  • Using confidential informants to learn about your activities.
  • Using wiretaps to listen into your telephone calls.
  • Obtaining Internet search information or other data about your online behaviors.

 

To take almost any of these investigatory steps, police or federal agents will require a warrant.   To obtain a warrant, the agent who wishes to tap your phones or search your home or vehicle must convince a judge that there is probable cause to suspect you violated the law. He also needs to show proof that there is reason to believe the investigation will reveal evidence to prove this violation occurred.

When a warrant is issued to allow investigation into potential criminal acts, there are limitations on the warrant. If a court gives authority to tap your phone, surveillance must be limited to communications related to unlawful activity and the phones must be tapped only for a limited period. If a court issues a search warrant to search your home, law enforcement officers must restrict that search to the house and cannot also search your vehicle or storage unit.

 

Questioning as Part of a Criminal Investigation

When you are under suspicion for committing a state or federal offense, a LEO or federal agent is likely going to want to question you.

You do not have to answer any questions. If police stop you while walking down the street, you are not required to identify yourself, although you must show ID if you have been stopped while driving a vehicle. If police come to your home or place of business, you may ask them to leave and you do not need to let them in or provide any requested information. If you decide to speak with an investigator, you may set the conditions for when and where the interview will occur.

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If a subpoena is issued for you to testify before a grand jury or to testify in court, you must respond to the subpoena and appear as ordered by the court. However, you do not have to answer questions that may incriminate you. You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to refuse to answer any questions that could lead to criminal charges. If you are arrested, you also have the right to remain silent and the right to ask for an attorney to represent you.

If your spouse, therapist, or attorney are questioned about anything you may have said or done, you also have the right to expect that anything said in confidence will remain confidential. Marital privilege, attorney/client privilege, doctor/patient and clergy privilege guarantee that those who are close to you cannot be compelled to testify against you.

 

Protecting Your Rights

The Fourth Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure. The Fifth Amendment guarantees your right to remain silent. You also have the right to due process, a speedy trial, a trial by jury, and to an attorney. You deserve to have every one of your constitutional rights fully respected throughout the process of an investigation and when police or federal agents question you.

Any evidence collected in violation of your constitutional rights cannot be presented in New York court to secure a conviction for a criminal offense. If police illegally search your home, evidence of a crime they found there cannot be used and you attorney could petition the judge to suppress that evidence. Further, any evidence that is obtained as a direct result of a violation of your Constitutional Rights is considered fruit of the poisonous tree and also may not be used to convict you.

 

To ensure your rights are protected and to reduce the chances that an investigation or questioning will lead to criminal charges, it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible when suspected of violating the law.

A New York criminal defense attorney at Bukh Law Firm, PLLC. will represent you at every step of an investigation and will be a strong legal advocate for you until your criminal case is resolved. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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