Before criminal charges are filed, who knows about them and the evidence?

Asked about 2 years ago - Portland, OR

I understand that generally speaking, criminal charges (and almost anything that happens in a court room) is matter of public record. However, there are exceptions. Take for example a divorce. In a acrimonious divorce, crimes are often committed whether intentional or unintentional. Person A commits fraud by lying on a bank account. An investigation is launched and evidence is collected against Person A, during the divorce. Is Person B (the spouse) entitled to the information about the investigation or the charges? Can Person B reference the investigation or criminal charges during the divorce? Something similar happened to me and it seems like my Person B knows far more about the investigation or my charges than she should.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. 5

    Lawyers agree


    Answered . There is no easy answer to your answer. In large part, information sharing during an investigation depends on who is conducting the investigation. Different departments have different policies on what they will share, and often the amount of information that can be obtained during an investigation depends on the actual investigator involved. Sometimes the investigator will share information with others while attempting to gain information, while other times no information whatsoever will be share with anyone. Often the person being investigated is given the least amount of information as the investigator often doesn't want to tip off the suspect with details.

    It often becomes more difficult to obtain information once the case is referred to a district attorney's office from law enforcement. If actual criminal charges are filed then the district attorney will be required to share all information with the accused (through their attorney), but while making the decision to charge the district attorney often remains very secretive.

    Morgan Wren Long
    Dore Long, LLC
    (503) 683-3642

  2. 3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Criminal charges are not part of a divorce proceeding, though they can occur in the context of one as has apparently happened with you. Unforunately, such accusations DO occur, justified and unjustified, but the criminal and divorce proceedings are separate cases. You can obtain copies of police reports directly from the police department - or, if the District Attorney has already filed charges and you've been arraigned, you can get them directly from the DA's office. However, if the DA is still investigating, they can keep their investigation rather close to the vest, as it were. Sometimes the police continue to investigate before referring a case to the DA. It can be difficult to navigate complex matters like this, both the civil and criminal cases, without an experienced attorney to manage the process. You need to consult with an attorney immediately, one who is familiar with both family law and criminal defense, especially where the cases are interrelated as yours are. My office handles such cases, so please feel free to call me.

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