One of the first and most important steps in the criminal process is the investigation, where law enforcement will begin collecting evidence to attempt and prove your guilt. With this in mind, the following is important information you should know regarding criminal investigations and what may take place. If you believe you may be under investigation, call and schedule a consultation with a Fairfax criminal lawyer today to discuss your case and begin building a defense.
There are a variety of different crimes that may be investigated before an arrest is made. Generally, these offenses tend to be offenses that involve complex investigations or large amounts of paperwork for the detectives have to go through. Some common examples are large-scale drug offenses, like the importation of large amounts of drugs into Virginia, or complex white collar crimes like embezzlement and insider trading.
In drug cases, detectives use undercover officers, confidential informants and subpoenas for bank and phone history to help build their cases and this takes time. Large-scale white collar offenses like fraud, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes and other large-scale offenses often are investigated thoroughly before arrests are made as well due to the large amount of paperwork that investigators must go through before they have probable cause to arrest.
When police bring charges in these types of offenses they need to make sure that the cases are close to ready for trial within a short amount of time due to speedy trial concerns. Therefore they do a lot of investigation before arrest.
Your accounts can be frozen during an investigation but typically police will not do that because that would tip off the subject of their investigation that something is going on. Additionally, once your funds are cut off, you’re no longer able to commit the offense, so if the police didn’t have probable cause by the time they froze your account, they may never will. Police would be stopping the criminal behavior from happening before they have enough to arrest and that simply isn’t their goal. Typically they do not freeze accounts even though they can. They complete their investigation and then freeze the assets once they make an arrest.
After arrest is made, authorities are continuing to do work to help build their case for trial. The only need probable cause to make an arrest, but at trial they need to produce proof beyond a reasonable doubt, so pending the trial, they are working with prosecutors to help build the case to give them the best chance of obtaining a conviction at trial.
They will speak to everyone that they think has some evidence that you’re committing the offense that they’re investigating. They may your be your employers, that may be your family and may be your friends. Their job at that point is to build their case up to make it as strong as possible. So, they will use every single resource, every single person that they can think of to help build their case.
It’s often very hard to determine whether an investigation is being conducted or not. Police obviously don’t want the target of the investigation to know they are being investigated so they try to keep their actions discreet. They are obviously concerned that if they let the target of their investigation know, that person will try to hide evidence, flee, or at the very least stop the criminal behavior before police have enough information to arrest them.
With that said, you should be aware of any surveillance that’s taking place outside of your house and any unusual activity on any bank accounts you have. If you hear of police questioning people you know or have been in contact with, that could be a sign. If you’ve received phone calls from a person who could possibly be a victim of a crime you could have committed, that could be part of a police investigation.
Overall, this really depends on the type of case being investigated and the type of investigation that police are conducting. There should be common sense signs that you are being investigated, and if you think you are, you should contact an attorney to either confirm or dispel your belief.
In Fairfax, the primary law enforcement agency that investigates crimes will be the Fairfax County Police Department who has detectives assigned from specialized units within the department based on the specific type of charge you are facing.
Additionally, the Metro Washington Area Airport Authority also has authority to make arrests both at Dulles Airport and on the Dulles toll road, and The Virginia State police also have jurisdiction throughout the state of Virginia.
Beyond these agencies, and due to how close Fairfax is to Washington, DC, there are a variety of Federal agencies that can be involved in cases in Fairfax as well.
There are numerous police officers and detectives whose sole job it is to investigate crimes. They do everything they can to build a strong case and to thoroughly investigate your offense
Hiring an attorney can be crucial to help advise you on how to minimize your risk of ever being arrested and how to deal with police when being investigated. An experienced attorney has likely dealt with situations like yours before. They know how police investigate cases, often have relationships with police officers that can shed some light on your case, and know how the evidence police are gathering can be used against you in court. With that information, they can put you in the best possible position to make sure that you’re being you are either not arrested, but if you are that you have a good chance of success in court