Federal Investigations in Virginia
Due to the severity of these types of offenses, if you are accused of committing a federal crime in Virginia it is important you consult with a Virginia federal defense attorney to discuss your case as soon as you believe you may be under investigation. The following is information on what goes in to conducting these investigations and how long it may take. Call today to learn more.
In order to indict someone, the government has to present the case before a grand jury and that case generally involves the testimony of witnesses or agents who have knowledge of the alleged criminal conduct. This is not something which is undertaken lightly by the federal government. It takes time – sometimes weeks, sometimes months, sometimes years – for them to get to a point where they feel comfortable presenting evidence before a grand jury.
Length of a Pre-Arrest Investigation
The government investigates for as long as they feel they need. They can take a number of weeks, months, or years, it really depends on the availability of witnesses and the ease with which the government can access certain information they feel they need. They can investigate on an ongoing basis for as long as is needed, until they have built up enough evidence to the point where they feel there is no question as to whether the person can be found guilty.
In terms of your case and defending your rights in court, the longer they investigate the more things they will have to do. Many of those things can be challenged under the Constitution. There can be challenges to search warrants and challenges to surveillance. That surveillance, whether it is wiretaps or e-mail invasions, might have violated the Constitution. Anything that they do is subject to review by the court. Therefore, the longer it goes on, the more opportunities a person might have to try to convince the court that their rights were violated during the course of the investigation.
Who Conducts Investigations
The primary investigative body for the federal government is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They have a wide umbrella under which they operate and they can target financial crimes, drug crimes, really any federal crime.
Aside from that, there are several other agencies which investigate federal crimes such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). All of those agencies have investigative bodies who can investigate alleged criminal activity taking place under their purview.
Tools and Tactics They Use
The FBI has the widest level of authority as far as investigating federal crimes. They can investigate financial crimes, drug crimes, any kind of crime found under the federal criminal code. They use tactics similar to other law enforcement agencies. They interview witnesses, execute search warrants, and in many cases talk to the person who is being accused of a crime in order to try to get a statement or confession from that person.
The same will be true of any other federal agency. One other element which the government can use, whether it is the FBI or another agency, is subpoenaing certain information to a grand jury. The information can be bank records, internet trails such as internet accounts or downloads which might have been made by the person, and e-mails which might have been sent by the person. They can access bank records through the power of a grand jury subpoena.