What Does it Mean to be Under Criminal Investigation in Lancaster, South Carolina?

February 21, 2024
Criminal Defense

Generally, being under criminal investigation in Lancaster, SC, means law enforcement is attempting to build a case against you. This can happen if police believe you to have committed a crime or someone has accused you of wrongdoing.

While being under criminal investigation is not the same as being charged with a crime, it is still crucial to act quickly. Retaining a Lancaster criminal defense lawyer from Barboza Law may be the most important step to protecting yourself and mitigating any damage the investigation may cause.

How Do You Know If You Are Under Criminal Investigation?

When law enforcement suspects you of committing a crime, you may notice a few signs:

  • Contacting people in your circle: Police often reach out to people you are close to, like family members and co-workers, when conducting their investigation.
  • Direct contact: The police may show up at your home or place of work unannounced, pressuring you to answer questions. An officer may call you or invite you to the police station to answer questions. It is important to know that you have the right to remain silent and the right to retain counsel.
  • Surveillance: You may notice yourself being watched from a distance.

Finding yourself under surveillance is rare due to the expense. However, if you find yourself being followed or suspect the new friend in your group to be less than genuine, contacting a criminal defense attorney in Lancaster, SC can help give you the guidance you need to protect yourself.

Why Retaining a Criminal Defense Lawyer is so Important

The term “rights” is frequently used in movies and media. Often, you hear lawyers speak about protecting their client’s rights during criminal and civil matters. However, why do our rights need to be protected if they are given to us by the Constitution and various state and federal laws? If we did nothing wrong, should we still seek protection from an attorney?  

Yes. Whether or not you believe you have done anything illegal, whether you have been charged or not, exercising your rights may be the difference between maintaining your freedom or conviction.

Wrongful Convictions

Despite the presumption of innocence, the US leads the world in wrongful convictions. According to the most recent statistics:

  • Between 2% and 10% of convicted persons currently in the prison system may be innocent
  • 29% of wrongful convictions result from false confessions
  • 70% of wrongful convictions stem from false accusations
  • Official misconduct was found in 31% of murder exonerations
  • 69% of wrongful convictions are due to misidentification from witnesses

In 2019, 143 people were exonerated. Collectively, they spent 1,908 years in prison.

Stacked Charges Leading to Extreme Sentencing

Prosecutors often stack charges against a defendant in order to pressure a person into a plea deal. With charge stacking, a defendant may be charged with multiple offenses for a single act.

For example, suppose a person allegedly stole a car. A prosecutor may pile on charges, including “possession of stolen property” and “unauthorized use of a vehicle” in addition to the theft. The defendant may face multiple sentences to be served consecutively, or one after the other, leading to lengthy prison sentences.

What a Lancaster Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do for You

If you are under criminal investigation, law enforcement may be taking their time to collect as much evidence as possible to formally charge you. However, retaining counsel early can immediately benefit you:

  • Building a wall between law enforcement and yourself: First, having representation means law enforcement must now direct all their communication to your attorney.
  • Legal advice: You and your lawyer can discuss matters freely due to attorney-client privilege, allowing you to ask questions and gain needed legal advice on how to move forward as the investigation proceeds. You can discuss what statements to give police, whether or not to submit to a polygraph, and what acts or statements may be incriminating.
  • Independent investigation: In addition to ensuring you exercise your rights, your attorney may conduct a separate investigation into the alleged crime. This could mean tracking leads and other evidence law enforcement may have overlooked or chose not to pursue.
  • Representation if charged: Should the investigation conclude and you are charged with a crime, your Lancaster criminal attorney will be at your side to defend against the charges.

When law enforcement conducts its investigations, the act of gathering evidence against you can have several damaging consequences to your reputation, affecting your place of work and personal relations. Even if you are not charged with a crime, the idea that you may be arrested is enough to inspire distrust from your employer, co-workers, customers, spouse, or partner.

Having a strong advocate in your corner can help mitigate the damage to your reputation and other aspects of your life. Attorney Barboza has established a formidable reputation for protecting her client’s best interests.

The Affordable, High-Quality Representation You Deserve

Being under criminal investigation can be an overwhelming and alarming experience. Having a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side can help you navigate the complexities of the law.

At Barboza Law, we believe everyone is entitled to affordable, high-quality representation. Call and schedule your consultation today to discuss the details of your case and how Attorney Barboza can help. We have successfully served the communities of Chester, Lancaster, and York Counties.