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What Happens After a Crime is Committed?

If you have reason to believe that you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, you may be curious about how Texas law enforcement agencies conduct their investigations, and you have every reason to be curious.

Below, is a brief explanation of what happens after a crime is committed in Texas; if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our law firm directly for legal advice.

Let’s say that a crime was committed and law enforcement was called to the scene. At this point, the law enforcement officers conduct the preliminary investigation.

If there was an emergency, for example, if anyone was hurt, the scene would be secured and emergency responders would be called.

The victim will be approached by law enforcement officers and asked important questions about the crime; witnesses will also be questioned.

If there is a suspect at the scene of the crime, he or she will be detained, questioned, and either released or arrested depending on the circumstances.

At the scene of the crime, law enforcement may:

  • Take pictures
  • Videotape the scene
  • Measure the scene
  • Sketch the scene
  • Search for evidence
  • Identify and collec evidence
  • Process any physical evidence
  • Record observations and statements

Even when law enforcement is very thorough in their preliminary investigation, there often needs to be a follow-up investigation to close the case. Usually, the follow-up investigation is necessary to narrow down suspects, locate stolen property, make an arrest, and recover weapons that have been hidden or discarded.

Follow-Up Investigation

The follow-up investigation is often conducted by detectives, but the officers who responded to the original call may be the ones to do it. As the investigators find leads, they will follow-up on them.

The investigators will be interested in the victim’s background, who may want to hurt the victim, who would benefit from the crime, and who could have the knowledge to plan the crime.

As the case progresses, investigators will view mugshot and fingerprints, and they will trace weapons and stolen property. As a general rule, a minor crime or a misdemeanor will not receive the same thorough attention as a major crime, such as aggravated sexual assault or murder.

Finally, the Criminal Prosecution

Once the investigation is complete, if law enforcement has sufficient evidence, the case may be submitted to the prosecutor for review and where applicable, for criminal prosecution.

After the prosecutor reviews the case, he or she will either: 1) accept it the way it was filed, 2) reduce or increase the charge, 3) file additional charges, 3) return the case to law enforcement saying they need more evidence, or 4) reject the case.

If you are the target of a preliminary investigation, we urge you to contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a Plano criminal defense attorney. Put over 30 years of collective experience to work for you – call today!