A “pre-charge investigation” is when a criminal defense attorney or law firm investigates criminal acts that a person is alleged to have committed. The investigation takes place before a prosecutor actually files formal charges of a crime. The investigation plays a valuable role in the criminal court process in so far that it could convince a prosecutor to not file charges or file charges of a lesser crime. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is suspected of committing a criminal offense.
What is a Pre-Charge Investigation?
In the life of a criminal court case, there is often a delay between when:
- Police investigate a person’s alleged commission of an offense, and
- A prosecutor files formal charges of a crime against that person.
A pre-charge investigation takes place during this delay. A criminal defense attorney or law firm conducts the investigation on behalf of the person suspected of a crime. In particular, lawyers investigate the criminal acts that a person is alleged to have committed.
Note that police and prosecutors conduct an investigation of their own prior to charges being filed in a criminal case. For example, they may gather evidence via:
- Search warrants,
- Witness statements,
- Police reports, and
But law enforcement and prosecutors rarely share this information with the accused. A criminal defense lawyer, then, plays a valuable role when conducting an investigation because accused people can learn more about the evidence that may possibly be used against them.
What is the Goal of a Pre-Charge Investigation?
The hope with an investigation is that a defense attorney will learn and uncover evidence that is favorable to a suspect. For example, maybe an attorney finds a witness who can say an accused was nowhere near the scene of a crime. Or perhaps a criminal defense lawyer finds evidence that an accuser has a history of lying.
The attorney can then present this evidence to the prosecutor. If the evidence pokes sizable holes in the prosecutor’s case, then he/she may decide not to bring formal charges against the suspect. Or, the prosecutor may still bring charges, but charges of a lesser offense (like petty theft, for example, rather than grand theft).
Note that a person could always try to talk to the authorities to convince them of his/her innocence. However, police are known for taking statements out of context and twisting them around to help support a possible charge. Speaking with the police poses a substantial risk that a prosecutor could gain even more evidence to support a case. It is rarely advisable to do this, and only ever with the advice and assistance of a criminal lawyer.
Further, an accused could sit and do nothing when faced with a potential charge. But this rarely produces any favorable results. Hiring an attorney to conduct a pre-charge investigation is a more pro-active approach that can hopefully make a charge go away.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While accused people can try and conduct a pre-charge investigation on their own, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to conduct the best investigation. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience conducting pre-charge investigations. Our Seattle defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in criminal matters. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!