Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Alexandria has its own police force, so they are the primary law enforcement agency that you will be dealing with if you are arrested in Alexandria. However, Alexandria is very close to several other jurisdictions and close to Washington, D.C. and therefore has a heavy federal presence.
Federal agents have concurrent jurisdiction with Alexandria police, including the Department of Justice, FBI, or any other agencies. That means that they can also have authority to make arrests in Alexandria. Therefore in Alexandria, you might be dealing with Alexandria Police, Metro Transit Police, Federal authorities, and the Alexandria sheriff as well. Between those federal agencies, the local Alexandria police, and the Virginia State Police there are many law enforcement agencies that have authority to make arrests and investigate crimes in Alexandria, Virginia.
If you have been arrested by one of these agencies it is important you consult with an experienced criminal attorney in Alexandria as soon as possible so they can begin building you a defense.
Crimes that are investigated before an arrest are typically more complex cases that require work to build a good case before issuing charges. Because once an arrest is made, the right to a speedy trial starts and the Commonwealth must prove their case in a certain amount of time or the case could be dismissed. Because of that time pressure, the state would always like to have as much evidence as possible when charges are brought, so not much work needs to be done between arrest and trial.
In complex cases, agents, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors will build their cases by issuing subpoenas, ordering phone records, and talking to any and all possible witnesses. Many times these pre-arrest investigations occur in complex white-collar cases like forgery, fraud, embezzlement or obtaining money by false pretenses, where there’s a lot of documentary evidence that needs to be gathered. Large-scale drug charges are typically brought after long investigations by vice/narcotics detectives.
Detectives will try to build their case by issuing subpoenas for bank records, phone records, and other evidence. Additionally, sex crimes and possession of child pornography often involve a long investigation before an arrest is made, due to the serious nature of the offense and the need for a lot of corroborating extrinsic evidence to help prove the case. Those are the most common types of charges that are investigated before an arrest, but it really can happen in any case where investigating the case pre-arrest gives an advantage to the prosecution.
Authorities certainly continue to investigate after an arrest. Police detectives and the prosecution are always trying to build their case to make it as strong as possible and a lot of that does happen after an arrest. What that means for your case is the strength of the case against you may change.
There needs only to be probable cause to arrest, which is a lower standard than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt that must be met at trial. In between being arrested on probable cause and having a trial where the burden is beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth and the investigators will be building their case. New information may come to light after arrest so you need to be aware of that because when the strength of the case against you increases, your decisions in the legal process matter greatly.
That’s where a lawyer can help. Your lawyer will be familiar with the common investigative practices of police so they will know what potential evidence is out there and how police will try to obtain it. Your attorney will also advise you on how to respond if police try to talk to you or try to obtain evidence from you that they wouldn’t be entitled to obtain otherwise. That advice can be crucial to putting you in a good position at trial. Your attorney can also communicate with police and prosecutors to help determine what steps law enforcement is taking to build their case and what they are looking for and with that knowledge can advise you accordingly.