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Virginia Pre-Arrest Investigations

The government’s likelihood of conducting an extensive pre-arrest or pre-indictment investigation depends on the type of case for which you are arrested or indicted. Certain cases, such as simple drug possession, DUI, assault and property offenses such as petit larceny, may not have extensive pre-arrest investigations. In these cases the law enforcement officer may simply come to the scene, talk to the witnesses and make the arrest.

In other cases however, such as complex financial crimes, sex crimes and crimes of notable violence, larger and more complicated pre-arrest investigations may be conducted. When this is the case, it is imperative that those investigated consult with a Virginia criminal lawyer as soon as possible even before an arrest takes place. An attorney will be able to help the subject of the investigation take the necessary steps to protect themselves and keep them from incriminating themselves any further than they already have. To discuss what an attorney can do for your case, call today.

Who Conducts Pre-Arrest Investigations

If you are under pre-arrest investigation for a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can expect a variety of different law enforcement agencies to be involved. This may include the local sheriff’s office, Virginia State Police and local town police, as well as other state agencies and sometimes even federal agencies such as the FBI or DEA.

What Are The Focuses of Investigations Within Different Agencies?

Certain local agencies, such as the local sheriff’s department, local police department and Virginia State Police, will conduct investigations pertaining to all criminal activities. Different subsections of these agencies handle specific areas of investigations. For example, drug task forces look at drug networks and distribution. Anti-violence task forces look at violent crimes such as manslaughter, murder and assault. There are also sex crimes task forces that look at crimes against children, crimes against vulnerable populations and internet crimes such as possession and distribution of child pornography and solicitation. Typically, the breakdown of local investigatory agencies into these subsets is intended to take advantage of the specialized training and skills of particular law enforcement personnel.

Tools and Tactics Used in Pre-Arrest Investigations

The resources that law enforcement uses to conduct investigations vary from locality to locality and from case to case. They may use basic police tactics such as person-to-person interviews, witness debriefings, witness interrogations and surveillance, which might include video surveillance, audio surveillance and in-person surveillance.

In addition, law enforcement agencies may use more advanced techniques such as computer searches, search warrants for persons and property and surveillance methods such as video surveillance, wiretaps and audio surveillance. They may also use confidential informants or undercover officers, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and the locality.

Who Will Authorities Speak To During An Investigation?

The list of people interviewed during an investigation depends solely and completely on the type of case and the facts of that case. For example, a sophisticated white-collar crime case may include search warrants for a large number of financial institutions, including banks, as well as interviews with bank employees, accountants and others. On the other hand, a drug possession case may not include any interviews because officers want to keep a low profile until the arrest decisions are made. So it really depends on the type of case and the type of investigation.

Will Authorities Speak to My Family and Friends?

No, it is not typical for law enforcement to reach out to loved ones or personal connections during investigations unless those people are in some way connected to the case.

Length of A Pre-Arrest Investigation

The length of a pre-arrest investigation depends completely on the type of case and the type of investigation that must be conducted prior to the arrest. Typically, the government will conduct an investigation from the time they learned about the alleged crime until they have enough information to make an arrest. This might be a matter of days, weeks, months or even years.

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