Pre-Charge Representation and Criminal Investigations
In many cases, there is a delay between the carrying out of a criminal investigation by law enforcement agents and the filing of criminal charges by a prosecutor. This gap provides a window of opportunity for defense counsel to try to persuade the government not to bring any charges or, failing that, to influence the scope and severity of the charges which may be brought. This opportunity often presents itself in a variety of cases, including complex federal fraud investigations and allegations of sexual assault, among others. This window of opportunity should not be wasted. Tactical decisions must be made quickly about what information, if any, to share with prosecutors in an effort to influence their charging decisions. These critical calls ultimately turn on a careful weighing of risks and benefits considered in light of the client’s specific objectives. While every case is unique, Rankin & Sultan has frequently succeeded in persuading state or federal prosecutors not to charge our clients with a crime. Those criminal cases which were never brought against our clients don’t appear in the media, but they represent some of our best legal work.
Police or prosecutors rarely broadcast the initiation of a criminal investigation or its scope. The existence of such an investigation potentially impacting upon an individual or a business may be gleaned from the receipt of a grand jury subpoena, the execution of a search warrant, a visit from a police detective or federal agents, or information passed on by colleagues, friends, or family members. Whatever the source, a potential subject of a criminal investigation needs legal assistance at the earliest possible moment to protect against potential missteps and gather evidence which may be used to persuade a prosecutor not to bring criminal charges or to fight any charges which may ultimately be filed. The approach of doing nothing in the hope that the investigators will simply close up shop of their own accord and move on to other potential targets is rarely the best course of action. The tactic of submitting to an interview by law enforcement investigators in the hope of convincing them not to bring charges is generally worse. The guiding hand of counsel to learn as much about the investigation as possible and evaluate potential responses is absolutely critical. If you have reason to believe that you, a family member, or someone you are associated with is the subject of a state or federal criminal investigation, please contact Rankin & Sultan for a free initial consultation.