After an officer conducts a stop, and it is determined that someone has an illegal substance, and if it is marijuana, it is likely they will be given a summons and released right there. This is the typical drug arrest procedure assuming that the Alexandria resident does not have a criminal record and is able to drive a vehicle.
However, if the officer finds cocaine or heroin, the person will be arrested and taken to the police station, fingerprinted and processed, then taken in front of a magistrate who will decide whether or not to grant the individual a bond. Contacting a qualified drug attorney can assist in understanding the process of being arrested for drugs and how to proceed in light of the possible repercussions.
If someone does not have a criminal record and the amount of the illegal substance was not terribly high, they will likely get a bond. If they do have an extensive criminal record, the magistrate may not grant them a bond.
An individual arrested for drug possession in Alexandria has the right to remain silent and they should exercise that right. In Virginia, they have the right to have the substance submitted to the Virginia State Lab for in-depth analysis. Right now, all they do at the scene is a field test and the field tests are not as accurate as the lab tests. People do not always realize that they have the right to have it sent off to the lab and to further confirm that it is indeed an illegal substance.
Unless the officer has probable cause to search the vehicle for illegal substances, then the person must give affirmative consent. They should not say anything about what has been found and should not claim it, because that basically limits their ability to mount a defense later. They always have the right to go to court and plead guilty but the more they do before that guilty plea, the more they say, they can shut down doors.
The biggest issue in drug arrest cases is search and seizure, meaning, whether or not the police officers had the right to either search the person, search the person’s vehicle, or search the person’s house. In a lot of these situations, officers may not have warrants especially if it is a traffic stop. Did the officer establish that they had probable cause? If there is a search warrant, was that search warrant properly granted?
There is always the risk that somebody is going to incriminate another person involved. If someone has nothing to do with the illegal substance and the officer does not believe that they had any knowledge of the substance, then they would not be at risk for drug charges. However, if there are four other people in the car and the drug found is specifically marijuana, there is a decent chance the police officer is going to charge everybody if nobody claims it.
An attorney experienced with drug arrests should immediately get information from the individual’s record in and the facts of the case. If the arrested individual is interested in going into rehab programs, they should get information together and be ready make that commitment.
If an individual knows someone who has dealt with these types of cases before, they can tell the client who and what kind of attorney they used. Good advertising is helpful too. They can do some research on an attorney and see how long they have been doing cases and they can talk to different lawyers to find out who has dealt with these types of cases before.