Pre-Filing Investigation in California
A pre-filing investigation takes place before a person is arrested and charged for a crime. A pre-filing investigation is when you may be under investigation for a crime, but criminal charges have yet to be brought against you.
During a pre-filing investigation, the police analyze the case in an attempt to uncover or make sense of any hidden or ambiguous facts. The prosecution may aggressively file charges against you based on this early investigation. Therefore, it is important to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney may be able to have these charges dropped or reduced before your preliminary hearing.
At Wallin and Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling pre-filing investigations. We will tenaciously monitor your case to determine whether charges have been filed, and do everything within our power to get your charges reduced, if not dropped, before you even step foot in court.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney During a Pre-Filing Investigation
Hiring an experienced attorney as soon as you discover that you are being investigated for a crime can make a major difference in the outcome of your case. As soon as you hire a criminal defense attorney for your case, he or she will need you to provide vital information about your background and the details of the crime for which you are being investigated. Your lawyer can decide what witnesses need to be immediately interviewed that can be helpful to your case. After your criminal defense attorney has compiled critical information to help you, he can speak to law enforcement in an attempt to make certain that the police reports are accurate.
When the police turn in their reports over to the District Attorney who will decide what, if any, criminal charges to file, you will want the police report to include your side of the story.
In many cases, your criminal defense attorney can speak to the filing district attorney in an attempt to convince him or her to not file criminal charges against you, or get them reduced.
During the Pre-Filing Investigation, Your Criminal Defense Attorney Will Shield You From Speaking to the Police
If you are under investigation for a crime you should never speak to law enforcement. If you speak to the police when you are not under arrest they do not have to read your Miranda rights. This means that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. If you are in custody and are read your Miranda rights and speak to the police, those statements will also be held against you in court.
When the police do not tape a statement from you, they can include anything in the police report that they “think you said.” Often times, the police report makes reference to admissions or confessions that you made, when in fact you claim to not have made such statements.
By hiring a criminal defense attorney when you are first under investigation, your attorney can decide what information will be given to law enforcement. When the police come to question after you’ve already hired an attorney, all you have to do is provide the police officers with your lawyer’s card and tell them that he or she will be in touch with the officer but you have nothing to say to the officers.
Pre-Filing Investigation & Statute of Limitations: How Long Does the District Attorney Have to File Charges Against Me?
The time limit for charges to be filed is referred to as the statute of limitations. This depends upon whether you are being accused of a felony or misdemeanor, and which crime you are being accused of. In most misdemeanor cases, the prosecutor must file criminal charges against you within one year from when the alleged crime occurred. In most felony cases, the District Attorney has three years to file charges from the date of the offense. However, there are exceptions to these time limits. Your criminal lawyer will tell you how long the prosecution has to file charges under the facts of your specific case.
Why Does a Pre-Filing Investigation Sometimes Take So Long?
During a Pre-Filing Investigation, it takes time for the arresting agency to go through their procedures and fill out their paperwork. If there is enough evidence, the arresting agency passes that information on to the District Attorney’s Office.
The District Attorney’s Office deals with a high volume of cases everyday. Due to the high volume of cases the District Attorney’s Office receives, it takes time for them to sort through all of the information they have to decide what charges, if any, should be filed.
Prior to charges being filed, your criminal defense attorney will attempt to speak to the prosecutor and attempt to convince the District Attorney not to file charges. Often the information in the police report is unfavorable to the suspect and it is the criminal defense attorney who must bring facts to the attention of the District Attorney that point to the innocence of the accused.
Will The Status of My Case Ever Change?
If your case is at the “Pre-filing” stage, it will remain that way until one of two things happen:
- The District Attorney files charges against you; or
- The statute of limitations has expired for your crime
Your attorney will contact you about what to do next when either of these two things happens.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is under investigation for a criminal charge or suspect that you may face criminal charges in the near future, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling pre-filing cases in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.