The first clue that you are being investigated might come when law enforcement shows up at your home to ask you some questions. It does not always have to be that overt. You may notice cars parked outside your home, you may receive an odd phone call, you may hear someone was looking into your activities in the neighborhood or your performance at the workplace.
Regardless how it happens, a criminal investigator must build a case with evidence. It’s at this point you may find out that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation.
In order to become a target, a prosecutor must believe he has substantial evidence linking you to the crime. Maybe evidence has gone before a grand jury. Maybe the Federal Bureau of Investigations or IRS has targeted you as a suspect.
Felony – A felony is a crime with the highest possible penalty ranging from one year in prison to a death sentence. Felonies under Alabama State Code are divided into Class A, B, C and D. If you have a prior record of being convicted of a felony, Alabama law will impose additional prison time this time around.
Crimes may include:
- Armed Robbery
- Human trafficking
Sex crimes will land you on the sex offender listing in the state if you are convicted of a sexually motivated crime, which can be a felony or misdemeanor.
Other criminal activities we help defend are:
- Drug offenses
- Domestic violence
Serious traffic offenses may be a felony or misdemeanor and include:
- Fleeing the scene of an accident
- Attempting to escape a police officer
- Homicide by vehicle or vessel
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving with a suspended license
Criminal Suspect – You may not be a suspect. Instead, law enforcement may have targeted you as a witness to a crime. It is important that you have legal representation because any words can and will be used against you.
For example, it may be determined you are uncooperative if you do not tell investigators what they believe you know, whether it’s true or not. You could be charged with lying to a federal agent or obstruction of justice without a proffer agreement, guaranteeing your words will not be used against you at a later date.
A competent criminal attorney will be by your side during the process to prepare you for any eventuality. It would be a mistake to think you can finesse the situation on your own.
A Person of Interest – Remember the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing? After the publicity that came from identifying a suspect too early, the term “person of interest” was created. It means that the FBI or law enforcement wants to talk to you about a criminal investigation.
You may be a suspect, but there is not enough evidence yet to charge you. If you are later arrested, having a proffer agreement, crafted with your criminal lawyer, may prevent evidence from being used against you.
If you are the subject of a federal criminal investigation, the FBI or IRS, that may mean your conduct is within the scope of a grand jury’s investigation. You must be warned that you are the “subject” of an investigation before you must testify before a federal grand jury. However, the “target” of a criminal investigation should indicate to you and your counsel that there is substantial evidence that links you to a crime.
When a warrant is issued for your arrest you have been indicted by a grand jury or a judge has approved a criminal complaint against you. It’s based on probable cause that the person named has committed a crime. You will be taken into custody, arraigned and bail will be set.
Additionally, there will likely be a search warrant issued to retrieve evidence from your home and place of business. An arrest record is then created which will go through the law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Your arrest may not mean you are eventually charged criminally in Alabama, but records of your arrest may be available for the public to view.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney can help you expunge those records if you qualify. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Jason Darley is prepared to help protect your rights. Mr. Darley will confer with you throughout the process, so you don’t unintentionally strengthen the criminal case involving you. Contact his office at (251) 441-7772 to begin the consultation.