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Criminal Investigation Process

When a crime has been committed or an incident has occurred an investigation often follows. An investigation is intended to bring evidence to light to help in the prosecution of the perpetrator. There are many types of investigations and every investigation is different depending on what is being investigated. People often have questions about how an investigation works and how long an investigation should take, below are questions like these that have been answered by the Experts.

How long does a Federal Bureau Investigation take?

There is no set time frame that a Federal Bureau Investigation must be completed in. The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) has been known to keep tabs on individuals for many years, if the FBI feels that they may be able to catch and arrest the individuals for criminal activities. Since there are no laws regulating how long an investigation must last or can last, the FBI is able to do their investigation at the speed that they need to conclude the investigation knowing it was finished in the best manner possible.

How long can investigations last?

The length of an investigation will all depend on the crime that is being investigated. This is because certain crimes have certain statute of limitations; once the crime has expired the person may not be able to be charged with that certain crime. So the course of investigation may only be within the statute of limitations, for example if the statute of limitations is 4 years then the investigation is not allowed take longer than 4 years from the date that the crime/incident occurred.

If in the course of an investigation an individual is asked to take a polygraph, do they have to take the polygraph?

If the polygraph has not been court ordered as part of the investigation, the individual does not have to voluntarily agree to the polygraph. An individual should retain counsel, who will more than likely want the individual to do several polygraphs so as to get a feeling for how polygraphs work. A polygraph alone will not get the charges dropped on the individual who is being investigated, and may end up with a guarantee of prosecution. Not volunteering to take a polygraph will not hurt the individual.

What can an individual do if they were charged with something and taken to trial without any investigation?

If an individual finds themselves in a case where the prosecution was negligent in their investigation or failed to investigate, the individual may sue the state for the criminal prosecution. This is not considered an easy task, and the individual will need to retain a lawyer to help in this. The individual may also sue the person that has filed the complaint, especially if the complainant was unwilling to be deposed and abandoned the prosecution.

If an investigation is done for a specific time frame, is anything outside of that time frame admissible as evidence?

In some cases this may be true, even though an investigation is from point A to point B; things that have occurred before or after the crime may be admissible as evidence. This is of course only if the investigation is legitimate and has not been tainted by negligence or inadmissible evidence. For example a bank robbery has occurred, the police do not just investigate for the time that the crime was committed, there had to be a motive or a plan, so they would investigate things that happened prior to the crime being committed as well as time after the crime was committed to apprehend the correct suspect. The whole point of an investigation is to bring to light evidence to prosecute the offender, be it observed or consequential evidence.

An investigation usually follows a crime or an incident that has occurred where a criminal aspect is in play. Each investigation varies depending on the thing or individual that is being investigated. The FBI may investigate an individual or business for many months, even years to see if they will be able to catch those entities performing criminal activities. In normal cases investigated by the police there is often a statute of limitations, which means the investigation can only last so that the prosecution may begin the prosecution before the statute of limitations expires. Investigations may be done for before or after a crime or incident occurred. Questions regarding investigations can be asked of the Experts.

Ask a Criminal Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
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7286322
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