Law Enforcement Inquiries / Investigations
Criminal investigations begin with police officers and law enforcement agents going out into the community to follow up on reports of criminal or suspicious conduct. In many instances an individual or business will receive an inquiry from a police officer, federal law enforcement agent or other government official. The inquiry may be in the form of a telephone call from a police officer or federal law enforcement agent seeking information. It may also occur with a law enforcement official showing up at the door seeking to speak with a designated person. The inquiry may also be in the form of a subpoena seeking testimony, documents, or both, or simply a business card left in a mailbox asking the recipient to contact the law enforcement official who left the card.
Before engaging in a dialogue with any law enforcement official, it is wise to consult with, and retain an experienced criminal lawyer who can help with fashioning the appropriate response to the inquiry. Before any statements are made to law enforcement, it is essential to determine from them whether the person contacted is a witness to a possible crime and not suspected of any wrongdoing, or someone who is possibly linked to criminal activity, or someone who is believed to have committed a crime and the target of a criminal prosecution. Even if you believe that you have done nothing wrong, it is important to safeguard your interests. While you may believe that you have done nothing wrong and you have no criminal exposure, the investigating law enforcement agents may view things differently. Having a skillful lawyer who can advocate on your behalf will help advance your position without exposing yourself to the risks of speaking to law enforcement agents without counsel, and having your statements used against you at a later time.
We have extensive experience in representing people and businesses who have been contacted by law enforcement as described above. We can speak with the inquiring law enforcement agent and then provide our client with an assessment of their options as to how to proceed.
In instances where an individual or a business is a victim of a crime and desirous of initiating a criminal prosecution of the alleged wrongdoer, we often are retained to reach out to the appropriate local, state or federal law enforcement agency to assist in getting the offender prosecuted. Often, our efforts will consist of conducting our own investigation of the alleged wrongdoing, and making a written or oral presentation to the police, federal law enforcement agency, city attorney’s office, district attorney’s office or U.S. attorney’s office. We have represented clients who have been victims of commercial bribery, internal theft, extortion, embezzlement, computer hacking and trade secret theft.