How Do Pre-Charge Investigations Work in Raleigh, NC?

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, our Raleigh criminal defense attorneys provide each of our clients with the legal knowledge and skill they need to face an investigation with confidence.

If a North Carolina police officer, detective, investigator, or federal agent has contacted you regarding your knowledge of or involvement in a crime, you must invoke your right to remain silent until you can speak with our Wake County criminal defense lawyers to ensure your rights are protected.

Even if you have nothing to hide, or believe your innocence will speak for itself, the landscape of police questioning changes quickly and unexpectedly once you are inside an interrogation room.

This is where conversations and statements can be manipulated to fit law enforcement’s narrative.

And if they do not have their sights set elsewhere, you can become their sole person of interest, simply because you are the only one talking. Do not place yourself in a compromising position by agreeing to speak to the police without an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side.

It simply is not worth the risk.

What are the Most Common Signs I Am Under a Police Investigation in North Carolina?

No matter where you live in North Carolina, if you are being investigated for your involvement in a crime, the city, county, state, or federal police will likely contact you at some point in the investigation.

Whether law enforcement comes directly to your home, calls you, or contacts your friends, family, coworkers, or romantic partners to find you, they will not stop until they have had the opportunity to question you in person.

Depending on what the police think you did and whether they have evidence to back up their suspicions — they will continue to gather information about your movements, whereabouts, and any potential alibis to ensure they have a reason to bring you in for questioning.

Additional signs that you are being investigated for a crime may include:

  • Obvious signs of being followed, including seeing the same car everywhere you stop
  • Friends/family members asking you direct questions about your involvement in a crime
  • Police vehicles and unmarked cars consistently near your home or work
  • Anonymous friend requests on social media

Whether the police are calling you a witness, person of interest, or a suspect, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh today to understand your rights and ensure they are protected going forward.

How Does the Pre-Charge Investigation Process Work in North Carolina?

When a crime is committed in North Carolina, it is up to law enforcement to put together how and why it occurred, and who is responsible for it.

That includes processing the crime scene for evidence, including identifying and collecting:

  • Victim testimony
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Fingerprints
  • Firearms
  • Footprints
  • List of missing or damaged items
  • Photos or video surveillance
  • Tools and tool marks
  • Trace evidence, including soil and fibers
  • Clothing
  • Drugs and/or paraphernalia
  • Unknown or biological substance samples
  • Child Pornography
  • Federal Drug Crime
  • Child indecent Liberties
  • Murder Defense

Once the scene is secured and evidence is collected, law enforcement will begin pursuing leads and identifying persons of interest.

Typically, uniformed police will begin knocking on doors and identifying any witnesses that may be able to help build their case. Detectives will take the next step and begin interviewing witnesses or interrogating alleged perpetrators.

Before responding to law enforcement’s request to be interviewed, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in North Carolina. Partnering with a skilled criminal defense lawyer does not make you look guilty. It ensures your rights and best interests are protected throughout the pre-charge investigation process.

Never Speak to North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Without an Attorney Present

If your name has been mentioned in conjunction with a crime, whether as a witness, affiliated party, a person of interest, or suspect, the police are going to identify you, find you, and ask you to come to the police station to make a formal statement.

If you are not under arrest, you do not have to go to the police station for questioning, and you absolutely do not have to speak to the police without an attorney.

The police can manipulate your statement and adapt it to their theory, through intimidation or lies, which means you could quickly be under arrest before you even know what happened.

Never allow a police officer, detective, or investigator to tell you they only want to talk to you to eliminate you as a suspect. That is not true. You should never agree to be questioned by police without a lawyer present.

When Does an Investigation Turn into An Arrest in North Carolina?

Before an arrest can occur in North Carolina, the police must have probable cause to arrest you.

They cannot simply “think” you committed a crime and arrest you without having the proper evidence to take their investigation to the next stage.

That may include evidence that ties you to the crime scene, like witness statements, surveillance footage, fingerprints, DNA, or other trace evidence that meets the legal standard for an arrest.

If you are being investigated or have been arrested for a crime in North Carolina, never waive your rights just to prove your innocence.


  • You do not have to answer a police officer’s questions by phone or in person.
  • You do not have to allow law enforcement to search your car, home, or other property without a warrant.
  • You do not have to accompany the police to their precinct unless you are under arrest.
  • You have the right to remain silent if you are arrested until you can speak with an attorney.
  • You have the right to an attorney — always. Hiring a lawyer during a criminal investigation or after your arrest does not make you look guilty. It makes you aware of your rights.

Are You Under Investigation or Been Charged with a Crime in North Carolina?

The earlier you reach out to our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh, the quicker we can begin protecting your rights.

Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh at the Marcilliat & Mills PLLC today by calling (919) 838-6643 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can empower you to take a stand and pursue real results for your unique legal circumstances.

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, Our Criminal Defense Attorney In Raleigh, NC Focuses On The Following Practice Areas:

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