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

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, our Wilmington criminal defense attorneys understand the complexity of being investigated for a crime in North Carolina.

We also know how intimidating it can be to have a police officer, detective, investigator, or federal agent come to your home or work and ask about your involvement in a crime.

One common mistake made is sitting down to talk to the police without an attorney present. Unfortunately, law enforcement can legally lie to solicit the response they are looking for. And when they do, it can quickly lead to providing a statement that places our clients right in the middle of their investigation instead of exonerating them.

Any time the police or a federal agent wants to talk to you, whether they claim you are a suspect or not, contact our experienced New Hanover County criminal defense lawyers before answering any questions to ensure your rights are protected.

Our Wilmington criminal defense attorneys are available to help North Carolina residents during pre-charge investigations, or when responding to a warrant, or after an arrest, because asking for an attorney does not make you look guilty. It ensures you are protected.

What Does a Pre-Charge Investigation for a Crime Entail In North Carolina?

All forms of law enforcement, including those at the city, county, state, or federal levels, can investigate crimes throughout North Carolina.

If your name has been mentioned at any stage during the investigation, the police will do everything they can to gather information about you, especially if they consider you less of a witness to a crime and more as a suspect who committed one.

When they do, they will contact your family, coworkers, friends, or romantic partners to learn where you live, what type of vehicle you drive, what your regular movements are, and who you are affiliated with to potentially tie you to the crime in question.

If law enforcement is unable to ascertain any information that will allow them to bring you in for questioning, their investigation will deepen.

That may include following your movements in an unmarked car, enlisting a friend or family member to ask questions about your involvement, or accessing your social media accounts or phone records to connect you to the crime.

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

What Type of Evidence is Collected During a Criminal Investigation in North Carolina?

When the alleged suspects in a crime are not apprehended at the scene, a police investigation must unfold to identify and locate them without violating their rights.

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

  • Photos or video surveillance
  • List of missing or damaged items
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Victim testimony
  • Fingerprints
  • Footprints
  • Clothing
  • Trace evidence, including soil and fibers
  • Unknown or biological substance samples
  • Tools and tool marks
  • Firearms
  • Drugs and/or paraphernalia

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

If your name, DNA, or another piece of evidence is found at the crime scene or mentioned during victim or witness statements, you are going to be wanted for questioning.

Before speaking to the police, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Wilmington to ensure your rights and best interests are protected.

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

You Do Not Have to Give a Statement to the Police Without An Attorney Present

If law enforcement comes to your home to interview you, you have the right to remain silent and request legal counsel before answering any questions.

This is always true. If you are not under arrest, you may turn the police away and contact an attorney before providing a statement.

If they have probable cause to arrest you, maintain your right to remain silent and contact our skilled Wilmington criminal defense lawyers before talking to the police.

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, and it is not worth the risk.


  • 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 Wilmington, the quicker we can begin protecting your rights.

Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in North Carolina at the Marcilliat & Mills PLLC today by calling 910-858-8647 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.

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