Police Investigation of a Crime and Your Rights
- Crime is committed: once the fact has become known to authorities through a complaint or by catching someone in the act, they will start with an investigation into the crime. If a person finds themselves as a suspect or being questioned by the police, they have the right to remain silent.
- Investigation by authorities: Police setting out on an investigation are limited in their actions so as to not infringe on our rights. Their job is to gather evidence in order to determine who was responsible for the crime. This includes speaking with witnesses, visiting crime sites, and gathering physical or forensic evidence.
- Potential arrest and/or detention: Not all people who are arrested will be charged, and not all people charged will be arrested. Depending on the evidence and severity of the crime, they can either press charges against a person or have a warrant out for their arrest. In either case, a person is required by law to be informed upon arrest what the charges are, the right to retain counsel, as well as the right to be released from detainment if it is not lawful.
- Criminal charges: Once the police have gathered the information they need, they will decide whether or not to pursue charges against the person, depending on the severity of the crime and how much evidence they have against them.