Being the subject of a criminal investigation in Florida is one of the most stressful situations a person can experience. A pre-arrest investigation takes place before an arrest, but after an active probe begins. During this time, authorities assess whether a crime occurred and if they should make an arrest. Getting ahead of the situation may help avert an arrest and protect your reputation.
According to the American Bar Association, the prosecutor considers a broad range of factors before initiating an investigation.
Establishing probable cause
An investigation allows authorities to collect evidence, establish probable cause and identify suspects. It also guides the prosecutors when evaluating whether they should file charges. It also helps determine which charges they bring and who faces them. Law enforcement must have probable cause for an arrest warrant. Without it, they risk invalidating the evidence they find that supports their case against you.
Investigators may also conduct interviews or go undercover. These techniques help determine the person or group engaged in criminal activity. Law enforcement officials present all evidence collect to a judge who decides if it justifies an arrest.
Protecting yourself during an investigation
You may believe that you can prevent criminal charges if you cooperate with officials and speak with them during their investigation. However, authorities often use deception as a means of gaining your trust when gathering evidence. They can make your statements look incriminating. If law enforcement officials already believe in your guilt, they may strengthen their case against you during an interview. Understanding how the legal system works and protecting your rights is crucial for the best possible outcome.