If you have ever watched a television cop show, you have seen investigators conduct criminal investigations. While real life differs from television in many ways, criminal investigations happen all the time. How do you know if you are the target of one, though?
Criminal investigations unfold in a few different ways. If you notice any of the following, however, you may need to ask a lawyer for assistance:
1. You have done something wrong
Generally, investigators do not investigate for the sake of investigating. If you have done something illegal, such as embezzling from your employer, someone may eventually discover your conduct. If a person alerts the authorities, you can likely assume an investigator will begin to look into your behavior.
2. You notice strange activity
Often, investigators must gather extensive evidence when investigating a crime. If you notice strange vehicles parked near your house, receive odd phone calls or even have unknown individuals contact you through social media, you may be the subject of a criminal investigation.
3. You receive a request for information
Criminal investigators typically look through a variety of records when building a case. They may also work with banks, educational institutions, employers and others to uncover facts. If you receive a request for information that seems out of the ordinary, an investigator may be trying to pin criminal charges on you.
4. An investigator tells you
Finally, perhaps the clearest sign you are under investigation is when an investigator informs you of such. This may take a couple different forms, though. Officers may request you to submit to an interrogation. Alternatively, someone may simply stop by your home or workplace to ask you questions. While the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution may protect you from self-incrimination, if investigators interact with you, you may be the target of a criminal investigation.
If you think you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may feel a variety of emotions. You should not, however, let paranoia dissuade you from taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and your legal interests.