Are you concerned that the police are investigating you for a crime right now? If you believe you are being investigated, perhaps you arrived at this conclusion because your friends say the police have been asking questions about you. Or, perhaps a detective showed up at your house while you were gone, and he left a card asking you to give him a call.
Regardless of how you caught wind that you may be under investigation, you may have no clue why you’re being investigated, or you may know exactly what it’s about and you may be worried you’ll eventually get arrested and taken into police custody.
Whatever your circumstances, read on as we go into further detail about police investigations, otherwise known as pre-file investigations, which simply refer to the police investigations that take place before official charges are filed against a suspect.
How Pre-File Investigations Are Started
Before a police investigation begins, a crime is committed first. For example, let’s say that “Joe” is pimping out his girlfriend “Trina” and he’s trying to find Johns or customers online for her. Vice detectives come across Joe’s suspicious ads on Craigslist about Trina, so they begin investigating; this is an example of how a police or pre-file investigations can be started.
Essentially, a police investigation is started whenever law enforcement suspects someone may have committed a crime. Perhaps the suspect was interviewed by the police at the scene of the crime, but there wasn’t enough evidence to make an arrest at the time. However, after a detective down at the station took over, the person became a viable suspect.
Sometimes, the suspect was nowhere near the crime scene when the police responded to a 911 call. In these cases, the detective on the case may have received a “tip” about the person or a lead, or their own detective work may have put them hot on the suspect’s trail, which launched a full-blown investigation.
Taking Evidence to the Prosecutor
Once detectives believe they have enough evidence to press formal charges, they will take the case to the prosecutor, who has a lot of discretion about the direction of a case. If the prosecutor is convinced by the available evidence, an arrest warrant will be issued and charges will be filed against the suspect, who becomes a criminal defendant at this point.
If the prosecutor does not feel that the detectives have enough evidence to win in court, he or she may send the case back to the detectives asking them to “get more evidence,” which may or may not be available. It all depends on the facts of the case.
Are you the target of a pre-file investigation in the East Bay? If so, call our Oakland criminal defense firm for a free consultation!