Police Investigations In Cincinnati Ohio
Cincinnati Criminal Investigations Attorney
Every criminal prosecution starts with an investigation by law enforcement. An investigation provides a law enforcement agency with a procedure for collecting evidence that will help prove the alleged perpetrator committed a crime and result in a conviction. An arrest only occurs if law enforcement has evidence of a crime or believes it has.
Whether the arrest is made because of a warrant or because law enforcement observed you committing a crime, at some point, through some effort, law enforcement investigated and discovered criminal activity. Discovering evidence of a crime may take minutes, or it may take an undercover operation several months.
It is difficult to know whether you are the target of a criminal investigation. Until you are called in for questioning, or someone informs you, you will probably not find out about the investigation until charges are filed and you are arrested. But if you believe that you may be the subject of a criminal investigation, do not talk to any law enforcement agency until you retain a criminal defense attorney.
Criminal Investigations Information Center
If you believe that you are the target of a criminal investigation, you should discuss your situation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm as soon as possible. We offer free consultations. Until such a need arises, the following information may be helpful.
- Cincinnati Area Law Enforcement Agencies
- You Need Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys To Help During A Criminal Investigation
- Ohio Criminal Investigations
- Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm Has The Investigative Resources Necessary To Help Establish Your Innocence
- Ohio Criminal Charges Handled By Our Defense Attorneys
- Federal Investigations
- What Happens In A Federal Investigation?
- How Do I Know If I Am Under Federal Investigation?
- Federal Criminal Cases Handled By Our Federal Defense Attorneys
- How Our Attorneys Can Help In A Federal Investigation
- Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Investigations
- Criminal Investigation Resources
Before an arrest occurs, law enforcement agencies may use various methods to investigate criminal activity. Some are more complicated than others. Officers will inevitably question witnesses to obtain information about a crime. Law enforcement agencies will also use surveillance to observe a crime as it happens.
No member of these law enforcement agencies has any authority to promise you that no charges will be filed against you if you cooperate with authorities. If law enforcement believes it has evidence that you committed a crime, you will be arrested. Always consult with a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer before speaking to the police. After all, the police are questioning you to discover something that incriminates you. An attorney can provide advice and help ensure that you do not say anything incriminating.
At Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm, we regularly assist clients under investigation, even before they face criminal charges. You do not have to wait for an arrest to contact our office. Call us today to discuss your case. The consultation is free.
Many different agencies on the local, state and federal levels in and around Cincinnati investigate criminal activity. These investigative agencies in the Cincinnati area include:
- Cincinnati Division of Police
- Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
- Butler County Sheriff’s Office
- Clinton County Sheriff’s Office
- Clermont County Sheriff’s Office
- Preble County Sheriff’s Office
- Brown County Sheriff’s Office
- Ohio State Highway Patrol
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Secret Service
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
Attorneys are trained to know the substantive law, which means they know the law itself. Attorneys are also trained to know procedural law, which is how a case proceeds through the legal system. You may believe that you can handle a criminal investigation by yourself without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may believe that this will save some money and the criminal justice system will treat you fairly. This may be a costly mistake. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can review the investigation and inform you about what to expect in the future. Some issues your attorney can explore include:
- Are you a target of the investigation (criminal suspect), or are police questioning you as a witness?
- Should you agree to any questioning by law enforcement? If so, which questions should you answer or respectfully decline to answer?
- What do you say if you are called to testify in front of a grand jury or provide evidence? Can you avoid appearing in front of a grand jury?
- Is it in your best interest to cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation?
Remember that refusing to answer questions may cause you to appear guilty to law enforcement personnel. However, the opposite may also be true since you may say something incriminating. A defense lawyer can review the specific facts of your situation and provide advice about the next best step to take. An attorney present during any questioning can advise you whether to answer a specific question or remain silent. This is typically a difficult choice to make without professional guidance.
If any law enforcement agency, including any Ohio state agency, believes that a crime has occurred, it will begin an investigation to gather evidence of proof of the crime itself and who committed the crime. In these cases, an investigation precedes the arrest. In other cases, a law enforcement officer may witness the crime and make an arrest immediately after observing the crime.
After an arrest, the investigating agency transfers the investigation to the state or federal prosecutor’s office. The prosecution must still have enough evidence to prove the accused committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is crucial to have an attorney protecting your rights at this stage of the investigation. It is just as crucial at this time to have an experienced criminal defense attorney relentlessly seeking and identifying the evidence that may exonerate you.
Crime Scene Investigation
When a crime occurs, its location becomes a crime scene. Law enforcement will investigate the crime scene for any evidence of the crime. This includes gathering physical evidence, taking photographs, observing, and other forensic evidence. Fingerprints, footprints, blood samples, hair samples, fibers, debris, and tire tracks are just some of the items collected as evidence at a crime scene. Anything that tends to prove or disprove the commission of a crime can act as evidence. A piece of evidence is typically just one piece of the puzzle. It may take several pieces to solve and complete the puzzle.
This is why law enforcement agencies conduct criminal investigations through established procedures for discovering and verifying evidence. Nevertheless, it is always possible that the test results revealed by a piece of evidence are unreliable. An experienced criminal defense attorney can take the necessary steps to ensure that any forensic test results are not inaccurate or misleading. An attorney can have the evidence sample tested independently and compared to the police’s forensic lab results. If these results are inconsistent, it may be the difference between guilt and innocence.
The chain of custody of an evidence sample is another critical issue that may help establish guilt or innocence. Typically, one law enforcement officer will collect a sample, but another party will deliver it to the forensic lab for testing. Once the sample reaches the lab, many different persons may handle it. This makes the sample prone to being mislabeled, misplaced, switched with another sample, or even tested without having accurate test results recorded.
An evidence sample’s chain of custody must be recorded completely and accurately. If information regarding an evidence sample does not clearly indicate the chain of custody details, your attorney can assert that the sample is compromised and unreliable as evidence. The evidence will be inadmissible, and the prosecution may not use it to prove your guilt.
Law enforcement will try to gather evidence anywhere, not just at the crime scene. The police will interview witnesses, conduct surveillance, and review any documentation that may prove a crime occurred. This evidence can give law enforcement leads as to any suspects. It can also help corroborate the guilt of any suspect already in custody. When any law enforcement agency tries to gather evidence, it must do so without violating any suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
An individual’s knowledge of any facts related to a crime is an integral part of any investigation. Law enforcement officers interrogate witnesses throughout the investigative process. The statements of one witness may lead to other witnesses making it an ongoing part of the process. Police may question suspects and witnesses before or after an arrest.
If law enforcement has not yet made an arrest, it will continue to question witnesses until it has probable cause to make an arrest. If the police tell you that they are questioning you as a witness rather than a suspect, they are simply trying to make you comfortable in hopes that you will disclose as much information as possible about what you know. Be forewarned. If you make any incriminating statements, the police will use these statements against you. No law enforcement officer is under any legal obligation to honestly tell you if you are a suspect in a criminal investigation. If the police inform you that they want to question you, call a defense lawyer immediately.
If the police have already arrested you, they will question you as soon as possible to gather additional evidence against you and get a grand jury indictment. A confession, or inconsistencies in your answers, can suggest guilt. A criminal defense attorney by your side can protect you and ensure that you do not say anything that incriminates you. Because witnesses are often intimidated and nervous when questioned by the police, it is not uncommon for them to say something that causes the police to infer their guilt incorrectly.
Police are trained interrogators and experienced in persuading suspects to speak freely. If you are in custody, you have constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent. The police must read you these “Miranda rights” when you are detained. The reading of these rights typically takes some form like the following:
- You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
Since the police are trained coercive interrogators, you should always have a defense lawyer present for any questioning. An interrogation by the police can occur anywhere – provided they first read your Miranda rights to you. These are fundamental rights that you may exercise at any time. Do not be afraid to assert them! It is not an admission of guilt to exercise these rights. It is the right of every American and Ohioan to assert these rights. Exercising your rights cannot be used against you in any federal or Ohio court.
It will only benefit your case to refrain from answering any of the police’s questions until you consult with your lawyer. But you must actively assert these rights by telling the police that you are “exercising your Miranda rights.” This means you will not answer any more questions, and you immediately want an attorney.
Criminal defense lawyers understand the coercive tactics used by officers to gather information. Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm can ensure that police do not misinterpret your answers. We can help you immediately upon your arrest and represent you during any interrogations. All it takes is for you to affirmatively exercise your Miranda rights and call our office at (513) 399-6289.
Any questioning by the police is an intimidating, uncomfortable process for anyone. Take advantage of the fact that you are entitled to the assistance of an attorney to whom you can direct any question.
Continuing The Investigation Post-Arrest
An arrest does not signal the end of law enforcement’s investigation. After an arrest, the investigating agency transfers the investigation to the appropriate prosecutor’s office. As the investigation continues, an Ohio or federal court may issue warrants to search your home, cars, or any other location that may contain evidence of the crime. The prosecution will try to corroborate existing evidence, including further forensic testing of existing evidence.
Gathering Favorable Evidence
While the State of Ohio or the federal government conduct a criminal investigation, at the same time, anyone suspected of being a target of a criminal investigation must aggressively take any step necessary to establish their innocence. If you are a criminal suspect, you must conduct your own investigation to gather evidence that establishes your innocence, which is anything that creates a reasonable doubt of your guilt.
Where Do You Begin?
This is a difficult question, especially when your freedom and reputation are at stake. This is also where an experienced criminal defense attorney may make the difference necessary to exonerate you of any crime.
As mentioned above, a piece of evidence is just one piece of the puzzle. Prosecutors use each piece of evidence to build a complete narrative of the crime and your involvement. As a result, you must be prepared to review every piece of evidence to determine if each evidence piece, like a puzzle piece, fits the narrative. If the evidence piece is inconsistent with the prosecutor’s narrative, it may establish the reasonable doubt necessary to prove your innocence.
A review of each piece of evidence can also help determine whether the evidence was gathered legally by law enforcement. Your defense attorney can use inconsistencies to argue that the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove the charges against you.
Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm Has The Investigative Resources Necessary To Help Establish Your Innocence
All it takes is one detail regarding evidence to cast reasonable doubt in a jury’s mind. A criminal defense firm like Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm has the necessary investigative resources that may uncover this simple but priceless detail, especially when you need it most.
Legal investigators complete the following functions:
- Interview witnesses and compare their prior statements for discrepancies
- Examine all physical evidence
- Review the testing procedures of all forensic evidence
- Prepare reports of their findings
It is crucial that your attorney conduct a separate investigation to gather evidence that may challenge the prosecutor’s case. Investigators are often witnesses who testify about their investigations and the evidence these investigations have produced. The sooner we get started on your case, the more time we have to conduct a thorough investigation. Do not wait until the last minute to call for this vital assistance.
Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm has the resources and the collective knowledge and experience to defend clients against a wide range of criminal charges under Ohio state law. Each criminal case is unique and requires different types of evidence to defend. We have the experience to handle cases involving but not limited to the following charges:
- Drug crimes – These crimes include the possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking of any controlled substance.
- Domestic violence crimes – These are charges that arise from certain interactions with a current or former spouse or partner, child, or another close family relation or roommate.
- DUI/OVI crimes – These are crimes for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI).
- Traffic/Motor Vehicle crimes – Traffic violations or offenses may carry serious consequences if your driving privilege is suspended. A defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance in this situation.
- Sex crimes – A conviction for a sex crime offense may have serious, long-lasting consequences.
- Theft offenses – There are numerous theft crimes, ranging from shoplifting to fraud.
- White-collar/Financial crimes – These crimes may have wide-reaching effects on the general public.
- Gun, firearm, and weapons crimes – If you own any firearm, you must know when, where, and how you can or cannot possess it in Ohio.
- Property crimes – These offenses include burglary, trespassing, arson, and other acts involving property
- Violent crimes – Offenses involving violence or threatened harm to others carry serious penalties.
If an Ohio prosecutor charges you with any offense under Ohio law, your first call should be to the skilled criminal defense team at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm. The consultation is free.
If you live within the borders of the state of Ohio, you know that you are subject to Ohio law, including Ohio’s body of criminal statutes. You are also subject to federal law, including laws applicable to federal crimes. Any conduct that violates either of these laws will trigger an investigation by the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the matter. Federal crimes typically involve serious offenses, crimes that cross state lines, or crimes that affect the entire country. Federal authorities can arrest you for an offense and become involved in a case initiated by state authorities. Any suspected violation of federal law typically involves an extensive investigation.
What Is A Federal Investigation?
Like cases at the state level, many federal cases begin with an investigation. An investigation in which you are a target may continue for months without your knowledge, as federal authorities are aware of a crime but unaware of the perpetrator. In other circumstances, federal officers may have evidence of continuing criminal activity but insufficient evidence to connect you to the criminal activity. In this case, they may focus on observing you in the act of committing the crimes.
Federal investigators ask the following questions in a criminal investigation:
- Was a federal crime committed?
- If so, who was involved in the crime?
- What evidence supports the criminal charges?
How Does A Federal Investigation Begin?
A federal investigation may begin when some credible source files an official report alleging some criminal activity. Federal agents and prosecutors may also obtain information about other criminal activity after interrogating other criminal defendants facing pending federal charges. This may occur as part of a plea agreement where the defendant exchanges the information for a reduced sentence. In other situations, intelligence or regulatory agencies may receive information or complaints from whistleblowers about criminal activity. Regardless of how or why a federal investigation begins, it is always a serious matter. The assistance of experienced criminal defense counsel is invaluable in such a situation.
Who Is Involved In A Federal Investigation?
Many federal agencies may conduct federal criminal investigations. Multiple agencies may cooperate on a single investigation. These include the following:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Agents of these organizations are the driving forces behind federal investigations. They may also work directly with a federal prosecutor. The prosecutor will ultimately decide whether formal charges are warranted. The prosecutor will provide agents with the evidence required to prove charges in a criminal case.
Federal agencies typically have more funding than local or state law enforcement. This means that federal investigations may have more extensive tools to gather evidence than a local or state agency. Some of the investigative tools used by federal agents include the following:
- Interviewing witnesses and suspects
- Using personal and online surveillance
- “Wiring” informants to record conversations
- Reviewing financial records
- Issuing subpoenas for documents or witness testimony
- Obtaining search warrants
- Using undercover agents
Federal agents use these tools to gather enough evidence to support a criminal indictment. They are well-experienced in determining which tool to use in a particular situation. Like their state counterparts, they are not above lying to you about whether you are the target of an investigation. It is a serious mistake to trust a federal agent if you are in this situation. Because the federal government is a formidable adversary, it is wise to have an experienced attorney dealing with federal agents and prosecutors.
Federal investigations may continue for extended periods without your knowledge. You may not realize that you are the target of an investigation until your arrest. However, there are ways to learn about an investigation before any formal indictment. These include the following:
- Federal agents request to meet or interview you
- Agents appear unannounced where you live, work, or any other location and immediately try to speak with you
- Agents show up at your home or workplace and present a search warrant
- Agents issue a grand jury subpoena requiring you to provide evidence or testimony
- Agents interview current or former personal and business associates
These events may happen quickly, causing you only then to learn that an ongoing investigation has occurred. You may also receive a “target letter” from a federal prosecutor. This letter informs you that you are the target of a criminal investigation. This letter often means that an investigation has produced substantial evidence against you. A target letter should include the following details:
- The fact that you are the subject of a federal grand jury investigation
- The offenses that you are suspected of committing
- Your right to an attorney
- Your right to remain silent
- How to seek court-appointed counsel if necessary
- A warning NOT to destroy evidence
- A warning NOT to obstruct justice
A target letter is a notice that nobody wants to receive. You should immediately contact a skilled federal criminal defense attorney at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm if you receive a target letter. If you speak to a federal prosecutor without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you risk further damage to your position as a potential defendant in a criminal matter. A criminal defense lawyer will review and evaluate your situation to explore your options based on the evidence against you. The sooner you call Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm, the better your chances of dealing with a target letter.
What Should I Do If I Am Under Investigation? What If Federal Agents Want To Speak With Me?
One important rule of thumb is to never speak to federal agents or prosecutors unless you are in the presence of your defense attorney. This will allow your lawyer to thoroughly evaluate the situation and your options before the interrogation. If you think that this may be a good opportunity to assert your innocence, understand that it is almost always a mistake. Federal agents and prosecutors are adept at eliciting incriminating information that they can use against you in court. Your attorney can tell you if there is any benefit in providing any information to agents.
Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm has years of experience handling many types of federal criminal charges. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Federal drug crimes – Federal drug charges often involve large-scale drug trafficking operations in more than one state and include the importation and exportation of drugs.
- Federal white-collar crimes – The federal government prosecutes violations of federal securities laws, especially white-collar crimes that may affect the general public.
- Federal weapons crimes – Federal gun laws are stricter than most state laws.
- Federal sex crimes – Federal sex crimes may include sex trafficking across state lines.
- Federal child pornography crimes – These crimes involve the distribution or manufacture of child pornography.
A seasoned and skilled criminal defense lawyer can assist you in many ways if you are the target of a federal investigation. Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm regularly represents clients under investigation, even before an arrest. This helps ensure that the government will respect your rights throughout the entire investigative process, before and after an arrest. Often, early involvement in a criminal case by a defense attorney can result in a much more favorable outcome.
A Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm attorney will:
- Advise you whether to speak with law enforcement agents
- Represent you in any interviews with law enforcement agents or prosecutors
- Obtain early discovery to review the evidence against you before any charges are filed
- Contact the prosecutor and discuss a possible plea agreement before any charges are filed
- Provide the prosecutor with any essential facts that may not already be in its possession
- Determine if any additional information might lead to the reduction or dismissal of the criminal charges
- Negotiate the best possible outcome
- Determine if the prosecution will provide you immunity for any criminal charges if you cooperate with the investigation
A quick resolution of any federal criminal charges can help you avoid any bad publicity and preserve your reputation. The reduction of felony charges to misdemeanor charges may have the same effects. The best way to learn how our criminal defense lawyers can help in your specific situation is to call Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm for a free consultation as soon as possible.
The following are brief answers to some frequently asked questions our attorneys receive about criminal investigations. If you need an answer to a question about your specific situation, immediately contact our office directly.
Do I Need To Hire A Criminal Lawyer?
In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to defend yourself in a criminal trial. But the Sixth Amendment also gives you the right to the assistance of a lawyer to defend you. A defense attorney knows the procedural and substantive law related to criminal investigations and cases. Most people who are not lawyers do not have the training to be knowledgeable about these matters. Therefore, while there is no legal requirement that you must hire a criminal defense attorney, it is highly recommended. This is true whether you’ve been officially charged with a crime or are under investigation for alleged criminal conduct.
If you do not hire a criminal defense attorney, you are on your own. The government is your adversary in this situation and will act against you rather than for you. Law enforcement is an arm of the government and will do the same. Only a criminal defense attorney can provide support and guidance in this situation. The Sixth Amendment guarantees it.
Trusting the prosecution and the police to act in your best interest may be a costly mistake. It may be a mistake with severe, even permanent, effects and financial costs. The legal issues in a criminal case are complicated. Without an attorney, you must identify them and devise a strategic defense yourself.
The purpose of a criminal investigation is to find evidence of a crime. Any interrogation by law enforcement is designed for this purpose. Also, the police are under no legal obligation to be honest in any dealings with you. They are allowed to lie to you during a criminal investigation. If you retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you will help ensure that your rights are protected during a criminal investigation. It is even possible that the intervention of an attorney will prevent the government from filing any charges.
How Can I Learn If There Is A Warrant For My Arrest?
After a criminal investigation, a court may issue a warrant for your arrest. Courts often issue warrants for arrest without any notice to the arrestee. There are resources available in Ohio to determine if a warrant has been issued for your arrest. You can call the court that you believe may have issued the warrant. There are also online resources. But the best way to find out if there’s a warrant for your arrest is to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer. These attorneys work within the Ohio and federal criminal justice systems every day, giving them the experience and knowledge necessary to serve their clients. An attorney familiar with the system can discover any warrants and help you take the next best step under challenging circumstances.
What If There Is A Warrant For My Arrest? Should I Turn Myself In?
If there is a warrant for your arrest, call a lawyer immediately to protect your rights. A criminal defense attorney can try to have the warrant recalled. This reverses the warrant and means that law enforcement will no longer try to arrest you. If you are arrested, a criminal defense attorney can try to have your bond reduced so you can save some money and get out of jail while your case is pending. If you are arrested or turn yourself in, a lawyer can represent you and protect your rights while you are in custody.
Do I Have To Talk To The Police Or Answer Questions?
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to remain silent. If any law enforcement agency tries to question you, requesting the presence of your attorney is the best way to end all questioning. The law requires that any interrogation stop as soon as you request a lawyer.
How Do I Know If I Am Being Investigated?
Unfortunately, you may not know until it is almost too late if any criminal investigation targets you and your activities. Until a law enforcement agency informs you of the investigation, you may only suspect that you are under investigation. Only when charges are filed will you know for sure. But some signs can indicate that you are the target of an investigation. Cars parked outside your home or workplace and unusual noises and clicks on your phone may suggest that the police have you under surveillance or have wiretapped your phone. If you experience this, you should call a lawyer immediately.
How Do I Defend Myself And Protect My Rights During A Police Investigation?
A criminal defense attorney knows the law and the investigative process. If you want to assert the best defense possible and ensure that your rights are protected during a police investigation, a criminal defense lawyer will be able to assist you immediately. A criminal defense attorney will advise you on protecting your valuable rights and represent you in all contact with law enforcement investigators and prosecutors. An attorney can ensure that any criminal investigation respects and does not infringe upon any rights that you have under Ohio law, federal law, and the United States Constitution. If these rights are compromised, a criminal defense lawyer can make the offending law enforcement agency accountable.
The FBI is a federal law enforcement agency that investigates terrorism, counterintelligence, cybercrime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, violent crime, and weapons of mass destruction.
ICE is a federal law enforcement agency that enforces federal laws related to trade, customs, immigration, and border control.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol – Office of Criminal Investigation supports the state patrol and other law enforcement agencies by providing a crime lab, criminal patrol, investigative services, and an investigative unit that enforces state alcohol, tobacco, and food stamp laws.
The investigation division of BCI, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General’s office, assists local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.
The Criminal Investigations Division of the Ohio Department of Taxation consists of police officers and support staff who enforce the criminal provisions of Ohio’s tax laws. It administers many of the taxes administered by the Department of Taxation, including sales and use tax, income tax, motor fuel tax, and cigarette and other tobacco taxes.