Dumfries Gun Investigations
Firearm offenses are taken quite seriously in Dumfries. Offenses involving guns often result in felony convictions which can have serious consequences for those who have been charged. Consequences include limited access to housing, and difficulty finding/maintaining employment due to a person’s felony status. That is why it is important for individuals to consult a lawyer if they are charged with a gun offense. Dumfries gun investigations can be thorough and exhaustive in their scope, and the assistance of an attorney can be invaluable during this time. A dedicated firearm defense attorney could work tirelessly to protect an individual’s rights and build their case.
Attitudes Towards Guns in Dumfries
Attitudes and the culture surrounding guns is changing in America and even so-called gun-friendly states are not impervious to these changes. Virginia is without question a gun-friendly state, but the proliferation of mass shootings and gun-related violence in this country over recent years has changed law enforcement’s outlook on guns and gun-related crimes. One should expect that if they are being looked at for a gun-related crime, law enforcement is going to do everything that they can to investigate as quickly as they can because of the heightened level of concern about guns in America.
How Will Someone Know They Are Under Investigation for a Gun Offense?
In the vast majority of cases, there will no question as to whether a person is under the investigation because generally, the first step in an investigation involves law enforcement contacting the person being investigated. In cases where a person might not be aware that they are under investigation, for instance, a circumstance where they have attempted to purchase a firearm, filled out that form, and filled that out in a way that the government thinks perhaps was either untruthful or inaccurate, then they might be investigating without a person knowing at that time. Generally, the first step in Dumfries gun investigations involves contact with law enforcement.
Steps the Police Take in Gun Investigations
One of the first steps that police officers take in Dumfries gun investigations is running a person’s record. They find out their name and identifying information and run it against their database to determine whether or not that person has already been convicted of a felony or has anything else on their record that would preclude them from legally possessing a firearm. Next, a police officer will try to secure a search warrant, so that they can legally search an individual’s possessions.
Under the Fourth Amendment, police are required to have warrants to conduct any searches. However, the Supreme Court through years has whittled down that requirement and created a number of exceptions to it. The most notable and common exception to the warrant requirement surrounds vehicles. The rationale is that vehicles are mobile. They are not as easily secured by law enforcement while they wait for a warrant. Once the police officer develops probable cause to search a vehicle, they may do so without obtaining a warrant first.
When Can Police Officers Inspect a Person to See if They Possess a Firearm?
The standard for pat downs is even lower than probable cause. If a police officer has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that person is up to something and they wish to question that person to determine whether or not they are subject to some sort of criminal investigation, one of the first things that they are going to do is pat a person down to see if they possess any weapons. This standard is lower because law enforcement and courts are concerned about issues relating to officer safety.
No one wants a criminal who is packing a loaded weapon, standing within a few feet of a police officer being questioned about a possible crime without the police officer being able to be secured. The subject of their investigation is not armed to give the police every opportunity to protect themselves. In doing so, it affords them greater latitude when it comes to individual pat downs to determine the presence of firearms.
Value of a Dumfries Firearm Attorney
Although guns and gun rights are an important aspect of American history, the legislation of guns is equally important. The right to bear arms exists in order to allow individuals to protect their loved ones, and when people take advantage of that right and commit gun offenses, the consequences can be quite severe. That is why it is important for individuals to contact a lawyer. A skilled firearm lawyer can be an invaluable asset during Dumfries gun investigations and could help build a person’s case. If a person has been charged with a firearm offense, they should speak with an attorney that could advocate for them.