No one wants to live their lives in constant fear that the police are after them. For those who commit crimes but are not immediately caught, there can be a constant nagging in the back of their head telling them that they are being investigated and that they need to do something to get ahead of law enforcement. Sometimes, those who are innocent of all crimes might also have this worry if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or fear that a crime could otherwise be falsely pinned on them. Many folks may wonder if there is a way that they or their lawyer can find out if the police are conducting a criminal investigation into their actions. Below, our experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long explain the criminal investigation and arrest processes and what steps you should take if you think the police are investigating you.
How the Criminal Investigation Process Works in Philadelphia
When a crime such as burglary is reported to the Philadelphia police, the normal course of action is for them to open an investigation into it. An investigation involves speaking to witnesses, viewing videos of the crime scene if available, and collecting other evidence pertaining to the commission of the crime. The police are not required to tell someone that they are the subject of a criminal investigation. An experienced criminal defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long can reach out to the local police and try to fish for information, but the police have no obligation to cooperate.
There are several ways you may ascertain if the police consider you a suspect, however. First, they may try to interview you. They may tell you that you are not a suspect and that they just want you to come into the police station to speak to them so that they can hear your side of the story. Oftentimes, you end up being a suspect after such an interview. This is why you should decline all interview requests and assert your right to remain silent until you have a lawyer present for the meeting. Even if you feel you have nothing to hide, the police can often twist your words around and use them against you later.
If you notice that you are being tailed or learn that close family, friends, and associates are being interviewed by the police, this is another clue that the police consider you a person of interest in an investigation. While investigating you, the police may also apply for a search warrant to search your home or vehicle for evidence of crimes such as drug trafficking in Philadelphia. If the police show up to your property with a warrant, you should contact an experienced search and seizure attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long. We can take a closer look at the warrant and, if we find any issues with it, can file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained from the illegal search.
The Arrest Process in Philadelphia
If an officer personally witnesses you commit a crime or has probable cause to believe you committed one based on clear evidence supplied to them, they can arrest you on the spot. Otherwise, police arrest people by applying for an arrest warrant with a judge after conducting an investigation of the type described in the above section. They include in their application for the warrant the results of their investigation and why they believe there is probable cause for a warrant to be granted for a particular individual’s arrest. If the judge finds probable cause based on the application, they will grant a warrant and the police will come find you at your home or wherever you may be to place you under arrest.
After an arrest has occurred, you will be taken to the police station for what is known as the booking process. During this process, your photograph and fingerprints will be taken, your biographical information will be collected, and any items on your person at the time of your arrest will be inventoried until you are released. After your booking, you will be held in the station’s holding cell or transported to a detention center until a preliminary arraignment and bail hearing can be held.
A bail hearing is usually held within 24 hours of your booking. These hearings are held via videoconferencing from your jail cell into a magistrate’s courtroom. It is important that you contact an experienced bail hearing attorney like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long to represent you at the bail hearing or you could end up detained in prison until your case is resolved. Our attorneys know how to make the best case to the judge that you should be released with minimal or no bail and allowed to remain at home while awaiting your day in court.
Following the bail hearing, our attorneys can start to work on your case, likely by beginning negotiations with the prosecutor on a potential plea deal. If a plea deal cannot be negotiated to your satisfaction, our attorneys are ready and able to take your case to trial. If you fail to show up for your required court appearances during this time, the judge will likely issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you believe a bench warrant has been issued against you, contact an experienced Philadelphia bench warrant lawyer like those at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long right away.
If You Are Worried About a Criminal Investigation, Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
While the police are not obligated to inform you that you are under criminal investigation, there are some signs that such an investigation is occurring that you can look out for, such as police interviewing you or your associates or showing up at your property with a search warrant. At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, our skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can work to make sure your rights are respected during any interview or search. If you are arrested, we will fight to get you released as quickly as possible and to begin working on getting the underlying charges dismissed or downgraded. For a free consultation, call us today at (215) 302-0171.