In New York State there are several law enforcement agencies that investigate criminal activity. These include the New York State Police, County Police, local (city, town or village) police departments, MTA Police, District Attorney Investigators and the Department of Environmental Protection. Those officers are recruited from a variety of places and undergo similar training. If one finds themselves subject of ANY law enforcement investigation they must immediately contact a criminal defense attorney.
The pre-arrest criminal defense is very important, however some criminal defense attorneys will not take clients who are under investigation and will tell the person "call me when your arrested." This is bad advice. A criminal defense attorney can provide help at any stage of the pre-arrest investigation. The earlier the criminal defense attorney can get involved the more effective the defense can be to help the client.
Pre-arrest the criminal defense attorney can contact the law enforcement agency, the District Attorney's Office and most importantly keep in close contact with the client regarding any arrest or investigation. Having a criminal defense attorney for advice often puts client's at ease by knowing they have someone to help during a stressful time.
What to do if you are under police investigation
DO NOT talk to any law enforcement without first speaking with a criminal defense attorney. The best criminal defense attorneys will tell you that is the golden rule in criminal defense.
Contray to popular belief, the police do not need to read a suspect their Miranda warnings, under certain circumstances, before questioning. Miranda warnings are usually only required during a custodial interrogation.
Law enforcement are free to lie to a suspect during questioning. The police may comment "We have the other guy, he told us what happened so you can too" or "your fingerprints are all over the weapon". This is designed to get the suspect to make a statement.
Also, the investigators will use comforting language such as "we are here to help you" or "we are going to ask you questions that we already have answers to, so its OK to be honest" Good Cop/Bad Cop is also a common practice.
The most common way that an investigator will convince a person to speak to them is by saying "we don't want to arrest you but if you don't talk to us and explain what happened we are going to arrest you" or "if you tell us what happened I can call the judge and you can go home or I'll call the DA and have them drop the case". This is all designed to have the suspect make a statement.
Again, follow the golden rule and never speak with law enforcement without speaking with a criminal defense attorney first.