Do you have reason to believe that you’re currently under investigation for a crime in Plano or Dallas? Perhaps detectives have been “asking around” about you. Perhaps you have the feeling you’re being followed. Or, perhaps you’ve been questioned directly and now you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.
If your suspicions are right, you’re the target of a police investigation, otherwise known as a “pre-file investigation.” What exactly is a pre-file investigation? It simply refers to an investigation that takes place before criminal charges are filed by the prosecutor.
In order for prosecutors to file criminal charges, they have to be fairly confident that they will win – that the case is a slam dunk. Prosecutors don’t like to lose, so they make sure that law enforcement has a sufficient amount of evidence before they agree to file charges.
What’s Happening Behind the Scenes
Suppose you are the target of a pre-file investigation. If that’s the case, a crime was committed, whether or not you were involved. This is how it police investigations are started: Usually, the police arrive on the scene of a crime and conduct their mini-investigation.
The responding officer will take eyewitness testimony, and crime scene investigators may come out and dust for fingerprints, take pictures, and collect other evidence. Once the responding officer writes up his or her report, the officer will hand the case over to a detective down at the station, who will investigate the case further.
Usually, the detective on a case will follow every lead they can in hopes of identifying the perpetrator. Sometimes, this process takes months, if not years. If a detective zeros in on a suspect, they must gather enough evidence to convince the prosecutor to file charges.
If the detective is successful and he or she convinces the prosecutor that they have a case, next an arrest warrant will be issued. From there, law enforcement will seek an arrest and formal criminal charges will be filed.