If you believe you are under criminal investigation in the state of Florida (also known as a pre-file investigation), your first thought might be that if you simply just explain yourself, you can avoid being charged with a crime. If the police are asking about your actions or whereabouts in relation to a crime that was committed, it is likely that you are the target of a criminal investigation. At this point, anything you say can be twisted and used against you in order to make you look guilty. If you believe you are under criminal investigation in Florida, hiring an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer is the best way to protect yourself and potentially even avoid charges in the first place, especially if innocent. 

Do I Really Need a Lawyer if I Am Under Criminal Investigation in Florida?

The answer to this question is simply yes. If you are the target of a criminal investigation in Florida, it is likely the police are already building a case against you. By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you are taking the first step in placing a buffer between you and the police. If the police knock on your door, especially without a warrant, you do not have to let them in or answer any questions. If the police need to speak with you, they can go through your lawyer first. Oftentimes, police will prey on suspects at their weakest point coaxing them into giving incriminating statements. Having a lawyer by your side will aid you with invoking your 5th amendment right which is the right to remain silent. This gives you the ability to decide what information should be held back or given to the police in your favor. 

Types of Police Questioning

When police attempt to speak to you, the first statement you may hear them make is: "You are not under arrest; we just want to speak with you." In certain scenarios, an answer is expected, however, there are different rules depending on the situation. 

  • A voluntary encounter is a situation in which a suspect is free to leave whenever they wish to do so. This kind of questioning does not require proof of a warrant. A situation ceases to be “voluntary” any time police indicate that a suspect cannot leave.
  • Temporary detention occurs when police have “reasonable suspicion” to believe an offense has been committed and the person being questioned was involved. Even common behaviors such as nervousness can be grounds for reasonable suspicion. 
  • If an officer has probable cause, they can make an arrest. This takes a situation beyond simple questioning. Even if someone being arrested is completely innocent of a crime, the police will take action if they have a reason to believe evidence links them to a crime. If you or a loved one was arrested with probable cause, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney in Florida as soon as possible.

Common Tactics Police Use to Get You to Incriminate Yourself

Intimidation

In certain cases, police may grill a suspect by aggressively questioning them or even making threats of an arrest. A Palm Beach County criminal defense lawyer may be able to challenge a confession that has been coerced by the police.

The Reid Technique

The Reid technique is a method of interrogation known for creating a high-pressure environment for the interviewee. Police may aggressively question a subject, then offer sympathy if they feel a confession can be had. This technique often results in a high rate of false confessions in Florida.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Good cop, bad cop is another psychological tactic used during interrogation in which a team of two takes opposing approaches when interrogating a subject. Typically, one interrogator will be sympathetic, while the other acts more hostile.

The PEACE Method

The PEACE method of interrogation is a multi-stage process in which investigators will build rapport and allow an alleged criminal to provide their account of events before presenting the suspect with any evidence or inconsistencies in their statement(s).

Can an Attorney Intervene and Prevent Charges From Being Filed Against Me?

If a warrant has been issued for your arrest in South Florida, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach County has the ability to contact the court that has issued the warrant alerting them that you will be bringing yourself to court to turn yourself in. If your lawyer believes an arrest is likely, this is the best way to go in peace to avoid being arrested when you least expect it. 

A criminal defense attorney can then appear with you in court and potentially have the warrant taken away. Once the warrant is taken away, you will be given a new court date that allows you to show up without being arrested.

When under criminal investigation, an attorney can also begin fact-finding. Fact-finding refers to a process by which the facts relevant to a dispute are determined. This allows an attorney to investigate the issue on their end and determine how deep law enforcement is into the investigation. If your attorney determines the investigation to just be a simple misunderstanding, they may be able to clear the air for you especially if there is already a lack of adequate evidence.

By hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer early on, it may be possible to avoid having official charges filed. If you or your loved one is under investigation for a crime in West Palm Beach, FL, click here to be connected with an attorney promptly.

What to Do When Under Criminal Investigation in Florida

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