In the state of Florida, it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to conduct something known as pre-file investigations to make sure a suspect is not under investigation in Florida. These investigations typically occur when officers suspect criminal wrongdoing but before an individual is formally charged with a crime.
To most people, the mere thought of being investigated is highly stressful. If you find yourself in this situation, you likely feel powerless, even terrified. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if you are under investigation in Florida, or if it’s all in your head. There are, however, a few signs to look for that may help you determine whether or not you need to be concerned.
It is critical to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to immediately safeguard your rights at any time you suspect that you may be under investigation. Nayib Hassan knows how law enforcement officers operate in Florida and how to protect your rights, best interests, and reputation. Contact the Law Office of Nayib Hassan today for a confidential consultation.
Detectives and police employ a variety of tactics when it comes to investigating suspected individuals. In many cases, officers will try to operate without you noticing, or even behave in a way that some find intimidating. The very first step in determining whether or not you are under investigation in Florida is to simply be aware. Take stock of your surroundings, and keep an open line of communication with those around you, in case they encounter any of these signs, as well.
- A police officer contacts or visits you.
Often the very first step in a pre-file investigation is for Florida police officers or detectives to come to your home, workplace, or other location that you are known to frequent. They may ask questions on the spot, or request that you accompany them to a station to make a statement.
It’s important to know that unless the law enforcement officer presents you with a warrant, you are under no obligation to answer any questions, or even to speak with them if you do not wish to. Similarly, they cannot search your home without a warrant.
Because a visit to your location is typically the first step in a pre-file investigation, you can be fairly confident that you are under suspicion when this occurs. If you are approached by a law enforcement officer, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible, as any delay could have serious consequences. At the Law Office of Nayib Hassan, our team is prepared to step in and defend you against these and other police tactics.
- A police officer contacts or visits your family, friends, or acquaintances.
When attempting to build a case, many law enforcement officers will speak to the friends, family, or other acquaintances of the suspect. This can range from current and past romantic partners to relatives, co-workers, or any other individual who has regular or recent contact with the target of the investigation. If you hear from anyone that a law enforcement representative was asking questions about you, this may be a sign that you are under investigation in Florida.
- You receive strange social media requests.
It’s no secret that many, if not most, people spend a great deal of time on social media. Law enforcement officers can and do exploit this fact by creating fake accounts to snoop on individuals. That can be the subject of an investigation, or even their online contacts. If you suddenly receive suspicious friend requests, messages, e-mails, or other requests, be sure to block them, and increase the privacy settings on your social media accounts. These types of requests may come from undercover detectives or other law enforcement agents.
At the same time, because other online connections may receive these same requests, it is important to limit what you are sharing on social media. Anything that you post can be seen by others, and once it is on the internet, it will become extremely difficult to remove fully.
- You are under surveillance.
Although this is an important sign, it’s important not to become overly paranoid. Law enforcement surveillance may appear as either obvious police vehicles, or as unmarked cars that remain parked outside or near your home or workplace for extended periods of time, often reappearing for days at a time. If this occurs, particularly alongside any of the other indications of a pre-file investigation, contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Just because you may be under investigation in Florida does not mean that you have lost your rights. During any encounter with law enforcement, it is crucial to remain aware of your rights so that you can respond in the most appropriate way.
Whenever you are questioned by a law enforcement official, you do not have to answer any questions or provide any statements before you have met with an attorney. Under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, you have the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. If you are pressed, be sure to inform the officer that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
No officer can search or seize your home, vehicle, smartphone, or other property without a search warrant signed by a judge. You have a right to ask for the warrant, and if the law enforcement official refuses, you can deny them entry to your property. Detectives or police officers may attempt to coerce or intimidate you, but it is your right to keep your personal property private unless a signed search warrant is produced. You may keep the door closed, and speak through a window or other opening if you believe an officer may try to force their way into your home.
Alongside the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment of the United States guarantees all individuals accused of a crime the right to legal representation. As soon as you believe that you are being investigated, you should contact a skilled attorney knowledgeable in Florida criminal law.
When it comes to protecting your rights against accusations of criminal conduct, it is absolutely critical to work with an attorney who has your best interests at heart and who knows the Florida legal system inside and out. Nayib Hassan and his team of experienced paralegals, private investigators, and other legal professionals have the talent and know-how to aggressively defend against all types of criminal charges. We have an impressive track record of getting our clients’ charges reduced or dismissed, and we will remain by your side throughout the entire process. Nothing is more unsettling than realizing you may be under investigation, but we are here to help. Call us at (305) 403-7323 or contact us online today for a confidential consultation about your case.