Many people under suspicion of committing an offense want to know if there is a way to tell if you are under criminal investigation in Maryland.

Although police often go to great lengths to hide indicators someone is under investigation and facing the prospect of an arrest, there may be telltale signs of an active investigation. Police often try to work up a powerful case against a defendant before his or her arrest. They may spend weeks and even months building up a case against you. If they lack evidence against you, they will struggle to bring charges that will stand up in a court of law.

Law enforcement officers have a range of techniques they use in investigations. Some are more obtrusive than others. You should talk to a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you are being investigated, to protect your rights. In this article, attorney Randolph Rice considers ‘is there a way to tell if you are under criminal investigation in Maryland?’

Signs You May Be Under Criminal Investigation in Maryland

Some investigations by local law enforcement, state police, the FBI or another agency are more obvious than others. Marked and unmarked police cars near your home or police or informants talking to your family members are signs of being under suspicion. Officers asking family members or friends unusual questions about you is a telltale sign you are under criminal investigation in Maryland.

The police have many more resources at their disposal than two decades ago. If you are under investigation in Maryland, you may receive strange phone calls and text messages. Police or informants might even send you friend requests or follow you on social media. 

The police may also seek electronic surveillance. They can tap your phones. They can even place tracking devices on vehicles if they have a warrant. Although it’s possible to find out if certain types of warrant are issued against you, it may not be possible to find a search warrant. Under MD Rules, Rule 4-601, the investigators must show probable cause for the warrant to be issued. Maryland law says the search warrant will be “issued with all practicable secrecy.” The judge can seal a supporting affidavit for up to 30 days. An extension of another 30 days is possible.

If the police execute a search warrant and enter your home, it’s obvious that you are under investigation. It may be wise to hire an attorney for criminal search warrant. If you run a business that’s under suspicion, federal investigators looking into a possible white-collar crime like fraud or insider dealing may seek a subpoena for your records. You can avoid talking to investigators but are obliged to comply with a subpoena.

What Crimes Are Most Likely to Be Investigated Before an Arrest in Maryland?

People accused of certain offenses are usually picked up quickly by the police. If an assault victim claims you were the attacker, the police are likely to arrest you as soon as possible. But investigators often spend weeks or even months investigating crimes like large-scale drug operations, gang activities, sex trafficking, and more complex homicides. A suspect may be under suspicion for long periods while evidence is gathered before the police swoop in to make arrests.

If you are potentially facing Maryland drug charges, there may be collaboration between law enforcement. In cases like major drug operations, numerous investigative agencies often join forces. When offenses cross state lines, federal bodies such as the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can join forces with local police departments and Maryland State Police. They often investigate many people at the same time and make multiple arrests when they have enough evidence to move on the suspects. 

Your Rights as a Suspect in a Criminal Investigation in Maryland

If police seek an interview with you, this is a clear sign you are under investigation in Maryland. If you are not at home, an officer may leave a business card. The investigator’s approach is not always obvious. They may give the impression they are seeking information on someone else when you are the actual suspect.

You are not obliged to talk to the police about any matter. If law enforcement officers start asking you questions about a crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Even seemingly innocuous questions can be leading somewhere. Remain silent or decline to answer questions about your whereabouts or your knowledge of a certain crime. It’s advisable to politely decline to answer questions. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees your right to silence before and after an arrest.

Federal investigators may send out a target letter seeking your cooperation and asking you to come to their office to answer questions.

Ask a Lawyer If There is a Way to Tell if You Are Under Criminal Investigation in Maryland

Suspects don’t always know they are under criminal investigation in Maryland but they often have an inkling or a feeling. If you have had some involvement in criminal enterprises, even at the margins, you may have a reason to believe you will fall under suspicion. It’s better to talk to a Maryland criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later, if only for peace of mind. At the Law Office of Randolph Rice, we will talk to you about your case and its implications. We can advise you if criminal proceedings are likely pending. If your arrest is imminent you should be prepared and have a lawyer lined up to represent you. 

Maryland’s criminal justice system convicts thousands of people each year. Many of them are incarcerated and pay high fines because of minor offenses.  Defendants often fail to take charges against them seriously until it’s too late. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can stand between you and law enforcement, working to protect you from any moves to give up your rights, confess to a crime, or confess evidence the police would otherwise be unable to find. Contact our criminal defense team for a free consultation or call us at (410) 431-0911.