In Maine, a pre-charge investigation is when police investigate a crime which occurred in order to gather a case against a probable suspect, who is then charged with a crime officially by the District Attorney’s Office.
In a police pre-charge investigation, Maine law enforcement collects physical evidence and obtains statements from witnesses, including the victim. In addition, Maine police will want to speak to the potential suspect who may have committed the crime, and police may attempt to obtain a statement (in writing or orally spoken) from the suspect. The evidence collected by the police is documented in a police report, which is then submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review. The police department is not the authority that “officially” charges you with a crime. If after reviewing the police report, the District Attorney’s Office believes that there is sufficient evidence to support all of the statutory elements of a particular crime, then the District Attorney will issue a formal Criminal Complaint, which includes the criminal charge that you would face at court.
If you find yourself a potential suspect in a police pre-charge investigation in Maine, you have certain constitutional rights against incriminating yourself, or saying things that aid the police in their investigation against you. Among these constitutional rights include the right to remain silent by not speaking to law enforcement or answering their questions, and the right to answer police questions only with the assistance of an attorney who is present with you. Together, these are called your Miranda rights, which were articulated in the landmark Supreme Court decision.
In my Maine criminal defense law practice, I have assisted clients before by going with them to police interrogations, and I have acted on clients’ behalf as an intermediary with law enforcement who were conducting an active pre-charge investigation. Because of my involvement, my clients’ constitutional rights were protected successfully.
If you or someone you know is facing a pre-charge investigation or is being considered as a possible suspect to committing a crime, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced Maine criminal defense attorney.