Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter North Eastern Ohio

How Can I Know If I Am Being Investigated for A Crime?


If you’re wondering if you’re under investigation, here’s what you should know. How can I know if I am being investigated for a crime? Usually, the police will call or visit and ask you questions because people do make statements and incriminate themselves or even provide a confession. That is the easiest way for the police to close a case. They will call you or show up at your home and ask to speak to you, or ask you to come in for an interview with a detective and that is how you will find out that you are a suspect in whatever crime they are investigating. In some undercover cases they are working you may not know ahead of time; everything will be done via surveillance and your indictment may be a secret until you get arrested or find out there is a warrant out for your arrest. Those cases are rare most of the time you will know because the police will ask you about it.

Am I Obligated To Meet With The Police And Answer Their Questions?

You are never obligated to meet with police, you always have the right to remain silent, so you should always speak to a lawyer first. It is never a good idea to speak to the police without getting some sort of legal advice or having an attorney with you. While the idea of being nice and meeting up with them sounds good and shows you want to cooperate and to be helpful be the good guy, speaking to the police usually will make your case more difficult for your attorney. Since you are not obligated to meet with the police, always speak with a lawyer first.

Are Police Allowed To Lie To A Suspect During Investigation Or Questioning?

The Ohio Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have both said that police are allowed to lie, and they will as part of their investigation technique. They will tell you that they know more than they do, or they will tell you that your buddy is in the next room selling you out so you may as well talk, or they will tell you they can get you a deal, or things will go better for you if you just talk now. Typically none of those things are true. They can tell you whatever they want to try to get a confession out of you or to get you to incriminate yourself.

On the flip side, you cannot lie to them. If you lie to police, that can bring more serious consequences. You have the right to remain silent and it is what you should do. If you do choose to speak and you lie to the police, you could be facing additional criminal charges.

What Are the Differences Between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges?

In simple terms, misdemeanors are less serious crimes, while felonies are the more serious. The stiffest penalties for misdemeanors are for a first degree misdemeanor, which is up to six months in jail. Felonies can lead to prison time, which is somewhat different from jail. The minimum prison sentence for the lowest level felony is six months, but penalties for serious felonies can be as much as life in prison.

Being charged with a felony does not mean you will get prison time. You can receive smaller amounts of jail time or probation or something else. However, felony charges are the level at which prison time starts to become a possibility.

How Long Do Criminal Cases Typically Take To Resolve?

The length of time it takes varies by case. You do have the right to a speedy trial under both Ohio law and the US constitution, which means the state must put you on trial within a certain period of time and not just keep you in jail awaiting trial for years. Sometimes, there are news stories in which that happens for whatever reason, but it is not supposed to. You can waive that time limit to give yourself more time to investigate the case and work out a resolution. For felony cases, unless you waive that limit, your trial must occur within two hundred and seventy days from the date of your arrest.

That can be pushed back by a defense motion or if it is waived, which can make it go longer. A typical criminal case can take anywhere from a few months to a year.

For more information on finding out if you’re under investigation, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (440) 530-9474 today.

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