Access to Information in DC Burglary Investigations

The investigation by law enforcement is important in any criminal case. The prosecution has to prove that the defendant or defendants committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To do so, they rely on the evidence and information gathered by law enforcement. What the burglary investigation uncovers and what the investigation involves is critically important. A DC Burglary attorney will review what the law enforcement officials did in their investigation because there are ways to attack the credibility or admissibility of evidence based upon the techniques and procedures used to gather the evidence.

Types of Information

Law enforcement officers will try to locate any witnesses that may have information about the burglary, whether that is an eye-witness to the event, or a witness before or after the fact, who could give them information to establish who was involved in a burglary. Law enforcement will always seek to find video footage of any kind of a criminal event. In DC, there are numerous video cameras on all government buildings as well as traffic cameras.

Since it is a major city, many private businesses and private buildings have video cameras as well. Any time a crime occurs in DC, law enforcement will canvass the area to see if there are any public or private video recordings of some or all of the events. They are also going to look for any evidence that they can find at the scene of the crime as well as evidence that can tie a particular suspect to the crime.

If the law enforcement agents determine that there is a specific individual or individuals, they believe may be connected to the crime, they can seek a search warrant for that individual’s property, such as their car or their home, to look for evidence tying the suspect to the crime. In a situation where an arrest was not immediately made, either on the scene or shortly thereafter, the police will try to obtain a search warrant to make sure that they have all the evidence they need.

How the Information is Obtained

In certain circumstances, law enforcement agencies might set up surveillance of an individual, seek and obtain a warrant to tap a phone, and monitor online activity, but those circumstances are not usual in a typical pre-arrest investigation. Many times, for an ongoing criminal conspiracy, such as racketeering, money laundering, and drug distribution, the government will have an ongoing criminal investigation by law enforcement that includes such tactics and techniques as wiretaps and surveillance.

However, anytime the police intend to use the information against an individual that they have obtained through a wiretap, search, or access to private property, they need to establish that they had a legal justification to do so. Most often that is in the form of the search warrant. An attorney would be able to examine the warrant carefully and make any challenges to the validity of the warrant.

Role of an Attorney

Every person who knows that they are being investigated, suspects they are being investigated, or is being contacted by the police should seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking with the police. You can limit the information that is coming to the police by simply not talking to them. There is no requirement that an individual being questioned by a police officer has to give them any information. With search warrants, an attorney would want to look at the affidavit submitted in support of getting the search warrant to see if any challenges can be made.

The attorney will want to look at the exact circumstances under which the search warrant was executed and how the search occurred to review all of the law enforcement investigative procedures and to make sure that no statutes or constitutional rights were violated during the course of the investigation. An attorney will want to try everything possible to keep evidence from being used against their client.