DC Criminal Investigations

Criminal offenses in Washington, DC are investigated thoroughly and as such, should be treated as seriously as possible. Even if you do not appear to be the focal point of an investigation it is important to seek legal representation from an experienced DC criminal lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights are being protected throughout the investigation process and help you refrain from incriminating yourself. To learn more or discuss a current investigation, call and schedule a consultation today.

State And Local Agencies Involvement

Most crimes in DC are investigated by the Metropolitan police department but there are lots of other law enforcement agencies that have different kinds of jurisdiction, in different parts of the city. Capitol Police have jurisdiction in and around the Capitol building, the US Park Police have jurisdiction over national parks like the National Mall or Rock Creek Park.  Secret Service has different kinds of jurisdiction in different areas but most commonly they have jurisdiction around the White House, around the Naval Observatory where the Vice President lives, they also have jurisdiction over foreign embassies. The Federal Protection Bureau has jurisdiction in and around all federal buildings. Metro Transit Police has jurisdiction around bus stops and metro stations.

Pre-Arrest Investigations

In many situations, arrests take place just at the scene of the alleged crime.  For example, if there is a fight at a bar and the police are called the police might show up at the bar, do a cursory investigation and arrest whomever they think committed an assault. But in certain cases that might be more complicated or might involve more lengthy investigations. The police may have to conduct multiple witness interviews, and police may have to obtain search warrants first in order to get enough evidence to convince a judge that there is probable cause for an arrest warrant.  Probable cause is a very, very low standard but it’s nonetheless a standard that a judge has to agree was met by the police, at which point they can sign off on the arrest warrant and that would result in the police being able to arrest you.

In more complex cases law enforcement and prosecutors will continue gathering new evidence after an arrest has been made, which can mean that the evidence in your case can potentially change midstream. However, a skilled lawyer can anticipate the areas in which continued investigation may be taking place and can conduct an independent investigation to mitigate any potentially damaging evidence that might be uncovered even after the case has already started.

Telling an officer you want to speak with an attorney never implies guilt and that’s always the first thing you should do whether or not you think you’ve committed a crime. Officers are allowed to deceive you into thinking that getting a lawyer will make things worse for you or they might tell you that you are not a suspect so you don’t need a lawyer.  They could tell you pretty much anything to get you to waive your right to remain silent and waive your right to talk to a lawyer first.

The Importance of Contacting a Lawyer

Even if you haven’t been charged, any statement that you make to the police can be used as evidence against you. What that means is that every single piece of information you provide regardless of how seemingly mundane it might be is one fewer thing a prosecutor would have to prove later on since you have already admitted to it.  The information you provide before you have been arrested can be used by the police to further investigate you, it can be used to obtain search warrants, it can be used to obtain an arrest warrant and it can potentially result in you being convicted all because of things you admitted to before being arrested. So talking to a lawyer before answering any questions at any stage can help you understand these consequences and can help you assert your rights.