11 Jul What to Do If You’re Being Criminally investigated in Massachusetts
If you’re being criminally investigated by law enforcement authorities — or, alternatively, if you suspect that a criminal investigation will begin — then you may be feeling overwhelmed or even confused by the whole process. Certainly, you’re likely to have questions and concerns about what you can do in response to the criminal investigation.
To better understand your rights and responsibilities during the criminal investigation process in Massachusetts, it’s important that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not delay.
Your response to a criminal investigation can hurt or help your case. It is therefore absolutely critical that you understand what to do if you’re being criminally investigated, so that you don’t conduct yourself in such a way that threatens the success of your defense.
Let’s take a quick look at what steps you should take and what mishaps are best avoided.
Consult With a Skilled Criminal Attorney Today
Consulting with an attorney who handles criminal law cases early on in the criminal investigation process can be highly advantageous, for a number of reasons.
First, your attorney may be able to prevent prosecutors from charging you with a crime. Bear in mind that prosecutors have limited resources, and as such, they do not like to waste time and effort prosecuting cases that do not clearly implicate the defendant. With the available evidence and data, your attorney will be able to engage with the prosecution and submit relevant information demonstrating your innocence. Statements from eyewitnesses, photographic evidence, event reconstruction, and much more can be used to help build a strong case for your defense — enough, perhaps, to prevent a charge altogether.
Second, your attorney will work with you throughout the criminal investigation process to ensure that you do not say anything that could implicate you or otherwise endanger your defense. As a defendant unfamiliar with the intricacies of Massachusetts criminal law, it can be difficult to know what statements and conduct can hurt your case. Don’t play a high-stakes guessing game. Let a skilled attorney guide you through the process.
Know Your Miranda Rights
In Massachusetts, law enforcement officers need only inform you of your Miranda rights — basically, that you have a right to remain silent, that your statements (voluntary and involuntary) can be used against you in a court of law, and that you have a right to an attorney — when you have been taken into custody for the purpose of interrogation. Law enforcement officers need not inform you of your Miranda rights at the scene of a crime, or at any other time prior to an in-custody interrogation.
Even if law enforcement has not informed you of your Miranda rights, you are entitled to remain silent and to consult with an attorney. Do not be misled by the omission! Avoid unnecessary disclosures and be sure to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Avoid Speaking to Media
Disclosures to the media won’t necessarily influence the outcome of your prosecution or investigation, but may if such media coverage spirals out of control. It’s important to understand that media coverage can lead to the deterioration of your public reputation, which can affect how the court and jury handle your case. Rather than engaging with various media outlets, avoid such exposure — your attorney can and will handle any media interference as necessary.
Try Not to Overreact
Criminal investigations can be extremely frightening for some defendants, particularly those who are being implicated in a serious crime and who otherwise have no experience being investigated or charged with a crime. If you’re feeling the pinch of anxiety, remind yourself to stay calm. Overreactions — skipping town, engaging in suspicious behavior to “cover your tracks,” etc. — can hurt your defense. It is far better to respond to your criminal investigation with grace and poise.