How Long do Criminal Investigations Take?

July 14, 2021 Criminal Defense

It can be terrifying to learn that you are under investigation by the police. In some cases, individuals find out they are under investigation when the police show up at their door to ask questions. In other cases, a person may not know if they are under investigation until they have been arrested. If you or somebody you care about discovers that you are being investigated for a crime, you likely want to know how long the investigation will last. Here, we want to discuss some key issues surrounding police investigations, including the time frame as well as what you should do if you find out you are facing any type of investigation.

How do You Know if You’re Under Investigation?

As we mentioned above, there may be various indications that you are under investigation. Anytime the police contact you to ask questions, you need to assume that you are under investigation. Additionally, if you have been arrested for an alleged criminal offense, you can be sure that there is some type of investigation going on. Perhaps the investigation is over with, and your arrest is the final step. However, it is not uncommon for arrests to be made while an investigation is ongoing.

How Long Will the Investigation Last?

The reality is that there is no actual way to answer this question. Criminal investigations will last as long as it takes authorities to gather enough evidence to move forward with their case or for them to decide that they do not have enough evidence with which to proceed.

Often, this can involve significant waiting periods. Sometimes the wait revolves around the examination of forensic evidence. This can also involve locating and interviewing witnesses, victims, or even additional suspects.

The length of time it takes for an investigation to be completed can also depend on the caseload of the agency gathering evidence and conducting interviews.

Finally, the police investigation time frame will also revolve around the type of crime being investigated as well as the statute of limitations governing that particular criminal offense. The statute of limitations for some crimes may only be a few years, whereas there are other types of crimes that do not even have a statute of limitation.

What to do if the Police Contact You

If you are contacted by the police or otherwise discover that you are under investigation, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Please do not speak to any law enforcement official or prosecutor without having your attorney present. This is a recipe for disaster. Even if you do not think you are guilty of the crime you are under investigation for, please understand that law enforcement officials and prosecutors can misconstrue what you say and possibly use it against you at a later date. Anything you tell police under questioning can be used against you in court.

A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to get involved as soon as you contact them and take steps to protect you. This will include handling any communication with law enforcement officials and prosecutors. A Phoenix criminal defense attorney will handle every aspect of the case, including obtaining all evidence being used against you, conducting an independent investigation into the alleged incident, and properly establishing a solid defense on your behalf.

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