Virginia Criminal Investigations
People who are under investigation for involvement in a crime will not always know they are under suspicion until they have been arrested and formally indicted. If you suspect you may be currently under investigation, check in with an experienced criminal lawyer in Virginia who can advise you on how you should proceed with your specific case. Remember, each individual’s case is unique, so it is important to discuss your specific case with a knowledgeable attorney before deciding on a course of action.
If Police Knock on Your Door
If the police come to your house, they will need a search warrant or your consent in order to search. There are limited search warrant exceptions for the search of a home, but generally, you have an expectation of privacy within your own home. If police or other government agents knock on your door and ask to look around, you should ask to see their search warrants. You should also call your Virginia criminal attorney right away and politely decline to answer any questions regarding the investigation that you may be asked. You should direct all questions to your attorney.
While it is a common belief that cooperation with law enforcement is in your best interest, there are many circumstances when it is not, such as when you are under investigation for a criminal offense. If you find yourself under investigation for a criminal offense, it is not in your best interest to speak to law enforcement without an attorney present.
Even if you do not believe you are under investigation, you should consider that the job of the police is to gather evidence of a crime. If the police want to speak with you or enter your home for those purposes, it is best to consult with a professional criminal lawyer before deciding to be overly cooperative.
If Asked to Go to Police Station in Virginia
Even if you believe that you have done nothing wrong, you should be very careful about going to a police station and speaking with officers. It is something a lawyer would almost never advise even with counsel present. Law enforcement professionals in Virginia are skilled interrogators who understand psychology and how to get information from someone, even if that person believes that he or she is not subject to any prosecution. Therefore, it is generally not in your best interest to speak to the police without an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney there to assist you or at least debrief you prior to the interview or interrogation. A lawyer’s first job is to make sure you understand your rights and to protect your rights to make sure you get the best possible outcome if you are suspected of a crime.
Signs You May Be Under Investigation
Depending on what you are doing online, your activities may not be protected by free speech. If someone is behaving illegally online, they should not expect that their actions are well-hidden or protected. The same is true of any other criminal activity in real life. With the continued advancement of technology, there is often the possibility that a person’s actions are being watched, even without their knowledge.
You may be under investigation for a crime if law enforcement officers are doing any of the following:
- Contacting you,
- Contacting your business or your associates, or
- Following you around.
If any such instances have occurred, reach out to a trusted Virginia criminal lawyer immediately and discuss your next steps.
If you are picked up for questioning or arrested, it is better to have an attorney already lined up, and in some cases, you can prevent an interrogation or even an arrest altogether by getting an attorney involved early on.