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Criminal Investigations

Every year, thousands of Ohioans face criminal investigations and asset forfeitures at the hands of law enforcement agencies. Although not all investigations result in conviction, many do.

If you or a loved one are undergoing criminal investigation or if you have experienced asset forfeiture, call an experienced criminal lawyer immediately at (216) 533-9533. The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC can answer your questions in a confidential consultation.

How a Criminal Investigation and Asset Forfeiture May Impact Your Life

If you’re convicted of a crime as the result of a criminal investigation, you could face a multitude of penalties, depending on the severity of the conviction. Penalties ranging from fines to jail time can occur, and a criminal record can impact your ability to find work and housing in years to come. Being convicted of a crime can also impact your physical health, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and the health and wellness of your loved ones.

Even if you are not convicted of a crime, being subjected to criminal investigation can take its toll. Enduring questioning, being surveilled, or having to monitor anything you say or do to safeguard against incriminating yourself can take its toll and result in lost wages, psychological distress, and even physical health problems.

In addition, the federal government and all states including Ohio allow law enforcement to seize cash, property, and other goods they have reason to believe are associated with illegal activity in what is known as an asset forfeiture. Even if you are not charged or convicted of a crime, civil asset forfeiture can ensure law enforcement has rights to and ownership of your property while a criminal investigation is ongoing.

How Does the Criminal Investigation Process Work?

Every criminal prosecution begins with a criminal investigation, usually by an agency with law enforcement jurisdiction, such as the Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, DEA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or others.

You may be the subject of a criminal investigation if law enforcement has reasonable suspicion you have been involved in or associated with criminal activity, but you don’t necessarily have to face charges before an investigation occurs – oftentimes, the point of a criminal investigation is to uncover enough evidence to charge or convict.

A criminal investigation can range in length of time, purpose, and information-gathering techniques. An investigation may consist of interviews, interrogations, collection of evidence, surveillance, and more. It may be as minimal as a patrol car tailing you before pulling you over to more involved, such as a request to come into the station for questioning to a months-long undercover operation.

What You Say During an Investigation Will Be Used Against You

Because an investigation may occur before any criminal charges have been pressed, it’s important to remember that if you’re the subject of a criminal investigation, anything you say is liable to be used in a case against you and could be incriminating, even if you do not intend it to be so.

Law enforcement officers have no obligation to defend or protect you, as their job is to conduct an unbiased and forensic analysis of tangible evidence.That is why, if you or a loved one are involved in a criminal investigation in Ohio, you need an experienced attorney on your side.

What Is Asset Forfeiture?

During a criminal investigation, if law enforcement officials suspect any property or goods have been involved in a crime – even if you as the property owner have not been charged or convicted – they have the right to obtain asset forfeiture. Your property can be seized in either a criminal or civil forfeiture, depending on the situation.

You could experience a civil asset forfeiture even if you have not been charged with a crime. A prosecutor can file civil actions to keep the property belonging to a suspect in illegal activity. Legally, this kind of charge is against the property, which can have damaging and lasting consequences on you even if you’re not to blame for the alleged illegal activity.

If you are convicted of a criminal offense, the prosecution can file for criminal asset forfeiture. At this point, your property can be seized and permanently redistributed as the law enforcement agency or courts see fit.

Although law enforcement and proponents of Ohio HB 347 – making it more difficult for the prosecution to seize property without due process, which means in order to seize properties valued under $15,000, the property owners must have been convicted in court.

Yet asset forfeiture persists, and can have long-lasting effects. That is why it is important to enlist an experienced Ohio attorney immediately if you’re subject to an asset forfeiture or criminal investigation.

How Can I Protect Myself During a Criminal Investigation?

Remember that both oral and written statements are both considered valid and can work against you in court. Even if you think your statement is harmless defense, you may unintentionally say something incriminating. Do not think you’re obligated to answer any questions without a lawyer present.

Contact Daniel Margolis

You should contact an attorney immediately if you are arrested or subjected to a criminal investigation. The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC can help you navigate your criminal investigation without compromising your rights or safety. Give us a call at (216) 533-9533 or use our online contact form to reach out.

Attorney Margolis is not currently providing free consultations nor accepting new clients. Please be advised that contact form submissions and calls may not be returned.
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