DC Criminal Investigations

The following is information on how criminal charges are investigated in Washington, DC. To learn more or discuss your case consult with a DC criminal lawyer today.

What State And Local Agencies Maybe Involved In Investigating Crimes In DC?

Most crimes in DC are investigated by the metropolitan police department but there are lots of other law enforcement agencies that have different kinds of jurisdiction, in different parts of the city. So Capitol Police has jurisdiction in and around the Capitol building, the US Park Police has jurisdiction around national parks like the National Mall or Rock Creek Park.  Secret Service has different kinds of jurisdiction in different areas but most commonly they have jurisdiction around the White House, they have jurisdiction around the Naval Observatory where the Vice President lives, they also have jurisdiction around foreign embassies. The Federal Protection Bureau has jurisdiction in and around all federal buildings. Metro Transit Police has jurisdiction around bus stops and metro stations.

What Are Some Crimes That Are Usually Investigated Before An Arrest?

In many situations arrests take place just at the scene of the alleged crime.  So for example if there is a fight at a bar and the police are called the police might show up at the bar, do a cursory investigation and arrest whomever they think committed an assault. But in certain cases that might be more complicated or might involve more lengthy investigations. The police may have to conduct multiple witness interviews, and police may have to obtain search warrants first in order to be able get enough evidence to convince a judge there is probable cause for an arrest warrant.  Probable cause is a very, very low standard but it’s nonetheless a standard that a judge has to agree was met by the police, at which point they can sign off on the arrest warrant and that would result in the police being able to arrest you.

Do The Authorities Continue To Investigate After An Arrest And What Does It Mean For My Case?

In more complex cases law enforcement and prosecutors will continue gathering new evidence after an arrest has been made, so that can mean that the evidence in your case can potentially change midstream.  But a skilled lawyer can anticipate the areas in which continued investigation may be taking place and can conduct an independent investigation to mitigate any potentially damaging evidence that might be uncovered even after the case has already started.

If I Tell An Officer I Want To Speak With An Attorney Does That Imply Guilt?

Telling an officer you want to speak with an attorney never implies guilt and that’s always the first thing you should do whether or not you think you’ve committed a crime. Officers are allowed to deceive you into thinking that getting a lawyer will make things worse for you or they might tell you that you’re not a suspect so you don’t need a lawyer.  They could tell you pretty much anything to get you to waive your right to remain silent and waive your right to talk to a lawyer first. Therefore, the first words out of your mouth should be I want to talk to a lawyer first.

Why Is Speaking To Counsel When I Am Contacted By DC Law Enforcement Officials Important Even Before I Am Charged?

Even if you haven’t been charged any statement that you make to the police can be used as evidence against you. What that means is that every single piece of information you provide regardless of how seemingly mundane it might be is one fewer thing a prosecutor would have to prove later on since you’ve already admitted to it.  The information you provide before you’ve been arrested can be used by the police to further investigate you, it can be used to obtain search warrants, it can be used to obtain an arrest warrant and it can potentially result in you being convicted all because of things you admitted to before being arrested. So talking to a lawyer before answering any questions at any stage can help you understand these consequences and can help you assert your rights.

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