You’ve been released under investigation – what does it mean?
If you have found this a page through an internet search then it is likely that you are one of many thousands of people who have been interviewed by the police under caution and then released under investigation.
It may be that you are having to search for an explanation because several weeks, or months, or even a year have passed and you have not heard anything from the police. You might not know or be confused about what will happen now that you have been released under investigation.
What does released under investigation mean?
If this has happened to you then it should mean that any police investigation into your alleged behaviour is still ongoing. The police should intend to notify you of the decision as to whether or not you will be prosecuted at some point in the future.
Often the effect of being released under investigation is that suspects will find that their lives are put on hold in many ways. It might be that the original allegation is a serious one so it is hard to get on with your life as normal. Your studies or career might be suffering while you are released under investigation due to a lack of knowledge of what is happening.
You might not know when property such as telephones or computers are to be returned. Potential witnesses might be waiting to see if they will be spoken to by the police.
Until you hear from the police it will be hard to put the matter to the back of your mind and impossible to forget about it, even where you know that you were not in the wrong.
Why am I not given a fixed date?
Previously suspects in a criminal investigation were likely to be released on bail to return to the police station so that a decision on charge or further interviews could take place.
Adverse publicity of cases where suspects were on bail for what could be years meant that the system was reviewed. The system created inconvenience where people would have to return to the police station many times only to find nothing was to happen and their bail was extended.
Police bail is now only used in a limited number of cases. The ability to keep suspects on police bail for long periods is now overseen by the courts.
Unfortunately, the change to the law on police bail has meant that it has been replaced with an equally unsatisfactory system where the police don’t even provide the milestones that bail dates would give to permit a review of the investigation.
Will the police keep you informed of developments?
For those who have been released under investigation it is unlikely to be enough to hope that the police are carrying out a thorough and effective investigation into the allegations
It is often impossible to tell whether any delay is due to the investigation or because other cases have been prioritised by the officer in your case.
Instruct a criminal law solicitor to represent your interests
Even if you were interviewed without a solicitor before you were released under investigation it is still not to late to contact us for our help.
We will keep in regular contact with the police to make sure that they are continuing to investigate your case. We will try and help you with a timetable for when certain steps will be taken and when the investigation is likely to conclude.
This may be of particular importance where the police are having items subject to forensic testing or having computers or mobile phones analysed. This can take a long time, particularly in complex or serious cases.
We can help negotiate the return of property to you if it is no longer relevant to the investigation.
Having us instructed at that stage will mean that where further interviews under caution are to take place we will be able to arrange them at a time convenient to you and your solicitor.
Can I change solicitors once I’ve been interviewed?
If you had the duty solicitor in your first interview then VHS Fletchers will be able to represent you in any subsequent interview under caution and that advice will remain free of charge to you under the legal aid scheme.
If, however, you had selected your own solicitor but now wish to change to VHS Fletchers then you may have to pay privately. Contact us and we will advise you as to that aspect of the case.
What should I do now?
With any criminal investigation it is always important to instruct a criminal solicitor from the outset. Our advice will be free of charge to you and we are entirely independent from the police.