Milwaukee Attorneys for Pre-Indictment Investigations
Finding out that you are the subject of a criminal investigation can be among the most overwhelming, intimidating, and stressful experiences a person can undergo. During the pre-indictment phase of a criminal case, the prosecutor has not filed formal charges, and the grand jury has not issued an indictment, but there is an active criminal investigation underway, nonetheless. Federal, state, and county prosecutors may use grand juries to investigate crimes and sometimes to issue charges via indictments or grand jury presentments. According to the Wisconsin court system’s website, the use of grand juries is rare.
The intimidating nature of being under criminal investigation often leads people to believe that they should try to speak to law enforcement or cooperate with the investigative authorities as a way of preventing any criminal charges from being issued against them. This is usually a mistake. In an interview with law enforcement officials, they might deceive the subject with empty promises to attempt to secure a confession. Alternatively, they might try to twist your words into more incriminating statements than you intended.
If you have recently learned that you are under criminal investigation in Milwaukee or the surrounding areas, contact the Milwaukee criminal appeals lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. as soon as you can, especially before speaking with law enforcement officers. Your initial consultation is confidential, and we can help you to understand what your legal options are. Call us today at (414) 271-9595.
The Dangers of Speaking to Law Enforcement Authorities without a Lawyer
There are many risks when it comes to speaking to the police without the help of legal counsel.
In most pre-indictment investigation cases, law enforcement officers have already come to the conclusion that you have committed a crime. If they contact you for an interview, it is generally an attempt to make their case stronger by obtaining a confession to the crime they suspect you have committed. In most cases, prosecutors will file criminal charges, or the grand jury will issue an indictment after the pre-arrest investigation concludes and an interview of the subject (you) has occurred.
Protecting Your Rights and Monitoring the Investigation
The pre-indictment or pre-arrest stage of the investigation can be the most critical phase of a case. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you by carefully reviewing the circumstances of your case to determine the reason you are under investigation and prepare the strongest defense strategy immediately.
Additionally, a skilled lawyer will be able to monitor developments within the case through direct contact with the law enforcement officials and prosecutors who are conducting the investigation. While the circumstances of every case are unique, your legal team may be able to take a variety of actions that can decrease the likelihood that the authorities will file criminal charges or that the grand jury will issue an indictment against you.
Pre-Indictment Defense Investigation
While your case is in the pre-indictment investigation phase, it can be helpful for your attorneys to carry out a thorough independent investigation. Such an investigation could include actions such as:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Preserving digital evidence such as text and phone logs
- Preserving physical evidence
- Procuring surveillance video
In some cases, the strongest strategy available to a subject’s attorney is to disclose evidence from a defense investigation to the prosecutor before a trial begins. This is often an effective means of preventing the filing of charges or the issuance of a grand jury indictment. Such pre-trial disclosure of a defense investigation’s evidence can sometimes persuade the prosecutor to file less serious charges. Sometimes it is even possible to avoid criminal charges altogether via a negotiated financial settlement with the prosecutor, which can satisfy restitution claims.
Representation at Pre-Arrest Police Interviews
In some instances, it may be beneficial for a subject’s criminal defense attorney to accompany their client to a pre-arrest investigation interview. In these circumstances, the goal may be to convince the authorities that the client has been falsely accused of criminal activity or that they are factually innocent of the crimes.
It may also be possible for a lawyer to help a subject demonstrate their innocence through the arrangement of a police-conducted polygraph test. Each case is unique, of course, and the particulars of your situation will help your legal team decide which legal strategy would be most effective in protecting your rights and liberty.
Grand Jury Subpoena
When a person receives a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, it can be a time of deep anxiety and confusion. Making an appearance before a grand jury is best undertaken with the representation of an experienced legal professional and full comprehension of your constitutional rights, particularly your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Your lawyer can provide you with specific guidance to understand and protect your rights if a federal, state, or county grand jury subpoenas you to appear before them.
Defending Your Rights During Arrest and Booking
If you are facing criminal charges, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to make arrangements with prosecutors or police for you to avoid arrest at your home or in your workplace by turning yourself in. Your attorney can accompany you to the police department or the courthouse for this, as well as for booking and your first appearance or arraignment.
When you turn yourself in to law enforcement, the authorities will photograph and fingerprint you, and you will need to provide them with basic identifying information. Your legal counsel can petition for your release from custody on nominal bail or on your own recognizance. They will also be able to advise you and your family of the pertinent bail bond procedures and address any other concerns you might have.
Begin with a Strong Defense
If you have recently learned that you are being investigated for a crime, or you believe you might soon be arrested, time is of the essence. The experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. are ready to act quickly to fight for your rights and to build a powerful case to defend you against the charges you are facing.
Call us today at (414) 271-9595 for a confidential initial consultation, and let us get to work on your defense right away.