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Criminal Investigations

If you have been charged with a crime or believe you are under investigation, you should know about the Ohio criminal investigations process. The police cannot simply arrest you on a suspicion that you did something wrong. They must have factual evidence that amounts to probable cause that you committed a crime, facilitated the commission of a crime, or aided and abetted a criminal. The police do not always play fair when attempting to gather this evidence. They may lie to you and fail to inform you of your rights. However, the U.S. Constitution, as well as state law, provides suspect’s rights. You are not defenseless during a criminal investigation.

Call a Columbus criminal attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates at to schedule a consultation.

The Pre-Arrest Criminal Investigation Process

In many situations, the police determine there is a crime but there are no immediate or obvious suspects. In fact, it is rare that the police catch a criminal in the act. When faced with criminal activity, the police must investigate the situation to determine primary suspects in order to make an arrest. This criminal investigation process includes:

  • Analyzing the crime scene
  • Speaking with the victim(s) of the crime
  • Gathering evidence, including witness testimony and camera footage
  • Having laboratory tests performed on substances found at the crime scene

Following these steps, the police will identify suspects to the crime. If you are a suspect, the police will want to question you. Often times the police will ask you to speak with them voluntarily. Otherwise, they must have enough evidence to gain a warrant for your arrest.

Pre-Arrest Questioning

During a pre-arrest criminal investigation, you are protected by the Constitution. You have the freedom to refuse to speak with the police – to a certain extent. If you are stopped, you must identify yourself. Also, if you continuously refuse despite appearing critical to the investigation, the police may accuse you of impeding an investigation. If you choose to talk with an officer or detective, you always have the right to consult an attorney. If you begin to answer questions and then realize the police suspect you of the crime, you may stop answering questions and tell the police you need an attorney present.

Once you become aware that you are a suspect or a part of a criminal investigation, you should contact a Columbus criminal attorney of Luftman, Heck & Associates right away. It can be tricky to identify your rights and options during an investigation when you have yet to be arrested. A lawyer can ensure you cooperate with the police as much as necessary while protecting your rights and without incriminating yourself.

Your Rights During an Arrest

You can be arrested immediately if the police have probable cause that you committed a crime, or you can be arrested once the police obtain a warrant. The first scenario generally occurs when the police witness you commit a crime, such as drunk driving. The police will stop you, conduct a thorough, yet quick, investigation, and arrest you based on factual evidence that you have been operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

However, if you have been questioned during a criminal investigation, you will likely be arrested only after the police have probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant. When the police believe they have enough evidence that you committed a crime, they will go before a judge. The judge may approve a warrant for your arrest. Once the warrant is finalized, you can be arrested and booked at any time.

To be clear, just because you are arrested, does not mean you will always be charged with the crime. The police may use probable cause to arrest you and then interrogate you more about the crime. This questioning could provide the police with additional information that points them in another direction or supports your innocence.

If you are arrested, you should immediately ask to contact your lawyer. It is always best to use your right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning. By having an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Luftman, Heck & Associates by your side, you are less likely to make the situation worse.

The Post-Arrest Criminal Investigation Process

If the police arrive at a crime scene and immediately have probable cause that you were involved, you may be arrested right away. However, this does not mean the police won’t look any further. They may not know enough to charge you with a crime until they conduct a more thorough criminal investigation including:

  • Speaking with the victim(s) of the crime
  • Speaking with witnesses
  • Questioning you
  • Gathering evidence, such as camera footage
  • Laboratory tests
  • Fact checking your alibi

Protect Your Rights During a Criminal Investigation

Upon your arrest, you will be given your Miranda rights. These include your right to remain silent, to have an attorney, or to have an attorney appointed to you if you cannot afford one. Also, anything you say or do can be used against you in court.

You should listen closely to your Miranda rights and follow them. Once you are arrested, the police will be looking at everything you do or say in an attempt to gather incriminating evidence. You should clearly state your intention to remain silent until you have an attorney present. Next, you should contact Luftman, Heck & Associates or speak with a family member about calling a lawyer for you.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our main priority will be to protect your rights during a criminal investigation. We can guide you through cooperating with the police without incriminating yourself and push for charges to be avoided or dropped. If you are charged with a crime, we will aggressively represent you in court.

Contact us today!

Let the Columbus Criminal Defense Attorneys with LHA Help You Today!

If you have any questions or if you need an experienced, competent attorney to help protect your rights, please contact Luftman, Heck, and Associates either by calling or emailing us via

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335


FAX: (614) 413-2886