Representation of Law Enforcement Officers
If you are a member of law enforcement you are likely the last person you thought would be the subject of a criminal investigation. Michele understands the difficult position you are in; trying to retain your job, your reputation, and the stress of shifting from the role of law enforcement to that of a criminal defendant. Michele has worked with many individuals from various agencies including the Department of Corrections, Border Patrol, King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, The Washington State Patrol, and Bureau of Prisons employees and understands the difficult position you are in. Michele has represented individuals charged with excessive use of force, misrepresentations in legal documents, failure to report a crime, and crimes involving motor vehicles. Michele is approved counsel through the PORAC Legal Defense Fund.
No Special Treatment
If you are a member of law enforcement and have been charged with a crime or are the subject of a criminal investigation you should expect to be treated the same as any other criminal defendant. Prosecuting attorneys in Washington aggressively investigate and prosecute members of law enforcement who are accused of committing a crime. In most cases the investigation is conducted by a different agency from another jurisdiction. Although there are some special considerations and defenses for members of law enforcement there is no special treatment. Every member of law enforcement must cooperate with an investigation, internal employment regulations, and Court orders while a criminal case is pending. Carefully navigating every step of this process can help you retain your job, protect your reputation, and be an effective member of law enforcement in the future.
Know Your Rights
Members of law enforcement have the same rights as any criminal defendant to decline to speak with investigators, retain an attorney, and direct their course of their criminal defense. Do not be fooled by a feeling of brotherhood with colleagues who are investigating you. Like you, they are trained to use every tool to induce a confession and solidify the case. Do not speak with investigators until you have consulted with an attorney. In most cases employers provide resources for criminal representation. If you are not sure of your employer’s policies review your employee handbook. If you are the subject of a criminal investigation or have been contacted regarding conduct that could become a criminal investigation contact an attorney.
Allegations of Off Duty Conduct
In some instances, conduct occurs when a representative of law enforcement is not on duty. In this instance your employer may not provide an attorney and you may need to retain an attorney privately.
The Internal Investigation
Members of law enforcement who are accused of misconduct may face a two-step process beginning with an internal investigation and culminating in a criminal charge. You should be aware or your rights during an internal investigation and consult with an attorney to determine what level of cooperation will benefit you. Sometimes cooperating will clear the issue but other times it may produce evidence that will push allegations of misconduct into a criminal charge.