Fairfax Criminal Investigations
The following is important information you should know regarding criminal investigations in Virginia and what you should expect if under investigation. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a Fairfax criminal defense attorney today.
Agencies Involved in Criminal Investigations
There are a lot of agencies that may be involved in criminal investigations in Fairfax. Some of the local and state agencies include:
- The Fairfax Country Police Department
- The Sheriff’s Department
- Child Protective Services
There are federal agencies that also get involved, such as the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency. The FBI also does get involved in cases. Homeland Security does as well, because there’s a lot of separate multijurisdictional task forces. There is one for human trafficking and then there’s one for drug distribution for example
In addition, we even see cases investigated by the airport police, and in Fairfax County, we have seen a lot of cases that are coming from the George Mason University Police Department as well, and then there is the localities. There is the town of Herndon, the town of Vienna and the city of Fairfax. So, there is a wide variety of law enforcement agencies that could be involved in Fairfax cases.
Whether there is a pre-arrest investigation depends on the case, because although they can make an arrest based on probable cause, evidence of probable cause alone will not suffice for a conviction. It is not unusual for the police officers to make a quick arrest and then to follow up on leads and complete their investigation to ensure they have enough evidence to convict. That is not unusual, this really all depends on the type of case.
Child pornography cases is one that you will see a lot because there will be an investigation done and then a search warrant done and then charges come later. And then an arrest comes later. The same goes for sexual assault cases often.
Red-Flags That You Are Being Investigated
One red flag is that the police are knocking on your door and want to speak with you. They leave a business card or they try to reach you, or a search warrant is issued on your home, work, computer, car, phone, or any combination of these. Or your friends tell you that police officers have come around and asked some questions about you. Or they come to your work and are talking to your boss.
Those could all be signs that something is going on. In other instances your bank accounts could be frozen, depending on the type of crime that’s being investigated.
Attorneys Can Help During Investigations
A lawyer can help in many ways. First of all, they can help by providing contemporaneous advice to someone who is a suspect, such as by advising them whether or not it is advisable to fully cooperate or not, and by being a voice and a liaison to law enforcement to try to get information about the case, get the status of the case possibly, and if there is going to be an eminent arrest to potentially negotiate a self-surrender.
That could be a valuable asset. But also having an attorney protect that person’s rights for them and take control of what’s going on rather than just having the police be in control of what’s going on.
Investigations of Online Activity
Police and other authorities can access your online or internet activity through the use of search warrants. Phone conversations are a little bit different. It is a little bit more difficult for law enforcement to be able to get a warrant to listen in to phone calls; that is rarer. And it depends on the case. So, that’s typically not seen. But certainly, they can get phone records and they can figure out who’s calling who, who’s texting who and when. They can get that information.