Police officers sometimes pursue Prince William County drug arrests prematurely. If you were arrested for drugs, you should not assume they have enough evidence to secure your conviction. However, anything you say or do now could be used as evidence against you in the future.
For the best chance of beating your charges, reach out to a dedicated criminal attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer could analyze the evidence against you and attempt to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
When drugs are found, police will typically separate a person from the drugs they inspect or field-tests them. This involves a lot of waiting around without the ability to leave freely. The police tend to ask suspects incriminating questions while they are searching or seizing drugs but before they have actually arrested anyone.
Once the arrest decision is made, the police will ask the person to submit to handcuffs and presumably read them a series of sentences about their rights against self-incrimination. A person is expected to say yes or no as to their understanding of these rights after police read them.
The police will then transport the person to the nearest Magistrate’s office so that official charges can be filled out and the initial decision of whether the person will be granted a bond can be made. The police will then package and store the drugs in their custody to be eventually sent to the state laboratory for testing. If a person is granted a bond that requires the posting of any amount of money, they will be held in jail until they can arrange for a bondsman to put up the necessary collateral. The jail will provide contact information of various local bondsman companies and allow the person to make a couple of phone calls to outside sources for the appropriate arrangements to be made.
The type and quantity of drugs affect the police officer’s initial decision whether to even arrest the person versus releasing them on a summons, as well as whether to charge them with simple possession only or some distribution-related charge. The type and quantity of drugs also affect how likely a Magistrate judge will be to grant someone a bond pending trial, and if so, the amount of money and conditions that the bond requires.
If police suspect that the drugs are related to gang or trafficking activity, they will be inclined to make an arrest as soon as possible, whether or not they have picked out the specific charges that will ultimately be brought. The presence of firearms is also a big aggravating circumstance. Moreover, if the police know or discover that someone has a concerning criminal history who is found with drugs, they will be more inclined to make an arrest.
All people at the scene of a drug arrest are at risk of also being arrested whether rightfully or wrongfully. There is not much consequence for police officers who unjustifiably arrest people at the scene. When these arrests are later overturned in court, police are very accustomed to claiming that someone at the scene made a concerning movement, statement, or was disrupting the arrest process of another person, thus warranting further arrest. When only one source of drugs is found amidst multiple people and no one answers police questioning about who the drugs belong to, some police officers just charge everyone in the situation with possessing that drug out of a sense of frustration.
If a person appears to genuinely not know about the presence of the drug when interacting with police under circumstances that corroborate that unawareness, or if a person produces a valid prescription for the drugs, they are much less likely to be arrested despite being at the scene.
A person has a right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney, even if they cannot afford one at the moment. A person also has the right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures, including unreasonably long or forceful arrests. In addition, a person does not need to consent to a search of their vehicle, clothes, or house if an officer asks for permission to search them right after an initial public encounter.
A person should avoid discussing the identity or origin of the suspected substance or confess to their possession, ownership, or intended consumption or distribution of the substance. They should also avoid alerting the police to any concerning criminal history, or try to mislead the police with distracting or false information about other people.
If you were involved in Prince William County drug arrests or believe you are a suspect, your next step should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A lawyer understands the tactics and procedures used by police officers, and they could help you avoid incriminating yourself. If charges have already been filed, they could fight on your behalf for a swift resolution to your case.
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