What To Do If You're Being Investigated
Being investigated for a criminal charge can put you into a serious, morally-struggling dilemma, inviting social, economic, and financial pressure on your shoulders. How you act and what you do while you're being investigated is crucial as it might impact your current situation in either a positive or negative manner.
To help guide you through these difficult times, we have the essential list of what to do when you're investigated for a criminal offence.
1) Make Decisions with Guidance & Counsel
We take this point from our experts at Dunlap Law: you should speak to your criminal lawyer about the limitations of your charges without question. Are you allowed to see or speak to certain people? Do you have to work in specific industries or not?
Being arrested is one of the most stressful and confusing experiences a person can go through. If you're granted bail, you might not know the finer details of your bail documents, and if you break them, you could face yourself in more trouble. Your lawyer can carefully review your conditions of release and explain them to you in plain language.
Every criminal case is different, with different facts, police, witnesses and clients. Therefore, what some people can do, others can't. You have to find out what you can do in regards to your case, so speak to your lawyer as soon as possible.
2) Disclosing Evidence & Consenting to Searches
In Canada, it's the police and prosecutors' job to compile as much evidence as possible to convict you. They cannot give you advice that can help your situation, leaving on your own. Once you're a suspect, they're going to do their job to build a case against you. So don't help them in their cause.
Don't disclose any potentially damaging information or evidence to the police or consent to any searches of your home, vehicle or office. They might potentially find something that doesn't mean much but turn it against you. If they do ask for such things, make sure that your lawyer is present during this process.
3) Tampering or Destroying Evidence
Speaking of evidence, do not under any circumstances tamper or destroy evidence. There are two reasons for this:
- If law enforcement discovers that you have acted in this way, it raises suspicions about your actions and you could work against you in the case. You don't have any responsibility to share information with the state, but don't make them target you anymore than they have to.
- Your criminal defence lawyer can use the evidence in your defence. They can apply computer forensics, and build your defence around it. It can end up helping you in the long-term. You could potentially lose a key part of your defence if you go and destroy it.
4) Speaking about Allegations or Charges to People
You don't want the public or people to know about the finer details of your case for multiple reasons: they can use it against you, it can leak to the media or the police, and they can alter the perception of you in front of others. Even if you are found not guilty at trial, you could face criminal accusations for years to come.
The same goes for posting comments on social media. Sharing information on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can be used against you, as the comments you make about a criminal investigation are monitored by law enforcement. Avoid posting or sharing information on social media for the time being.
It's best to keep yourself quiet, and if you have to talk to people, keep within your close circle of family, friends and lawyers.
5) Not Taking Decisive Action
Being investigated and charged with a crime doesn't mean you put your head in the sand. This is not a problem that will go away on its own, so you must promptly deal with the situation and with your full attention. Contact your lawyer promptly and see if you can assist them in any way possible. The more active you are in your case, and the more you help your defence, the better result will be.
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