Ask Your Questions: Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorneys Answer
The Taylor Law Company understands that if you are accused of a crime in Fairfax, you have all sorts of questions about your rights, about what you are up against, about what your future may look like. Take a look at our frequently asked questions, complete with informative answers, and see if they help; if they don’t, feel free to request a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our capable DUI/criminal defense lawyers.
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How will I know about the specific charges against me in a federal criminal case filed in Virginia?
The United States Attorney’s Office is the federal government office responsible for prosecuting crimes. Generally, there are two ways that they may formally notify you of the criminal charges against you. If you are charged with a felony then you may learn of the charges through an indictment. An indictment is obtained after the U.S. Attorney’s Office has presented evidence to a grand jury and after the grand jury has found that you probably committed the crime and should be charged. A grand jury cannot find you guilty and cannot impose penalties. You remain innocent until proven guilty despite the grand jury’s indictment.
Some less serious felonies and federal misdemeanors may not go before a Virginia grand jury, thus, no indictment will be issued. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can issue an information. The information will detail the charges against you.
Both an indictment and an information are formal legal documents. They may be difficult to understand and if you are convicted of the crimes detailed in the indictment or information then you may face serious consequences. Accordingly, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Fairfax federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as you think that you might be in trouble. You do not have to wait for the formal indictment or information to be provided to contact a Northern Virginia criminal defense attorney. It is important to get the legal help that you need to fight the charges against you and protect your rights throughout your Virginia federal criminal case.
If I am suspected of committing a federal crime in Northern Virginia, what kind of information or evidence would the FBI consider “probable cause”?
Most sources of probable cause fall into one of four categories:
Observation. Included in this category is any information that an investigating officer obtains through his or her senses, such as sight, smell, or hearing. Also included is the officer’s recognition of a familiar pattern of criminal activity, such as a car circling the neighborhood, someone looking around furtively while examining a vehicle in a parking lot, or someone hanging around the door of a store after closing time.
Expertise. These are skills that police officers and federal investigators have acquired through training or experience, such as recognizing burglary tools, being able to read gang graffiti, and knowing the signs that a driver may be under the influence.
Information. Statements made by witnesses, informants’ tips, and information provided through police bulletins fall into this category.
Circumstantial Evidence. Anything that constitutes indirect evidence implying—but not proving—that a crime has been committed is circumstantial evidence.
Some sources of probable cause require supporting evidence from another source, but other sources are deemed reliable enough to justify probable cause by themselves.
If you are charged with a federal crime in Fairfax, law enforcement officers must show probable cause before searching or arresting you; otherwise, whatever evidence they gather is inadmissible in court.
As soon as police or the FBI have contacted you, call the federal criminal defense attorneys at the Taylor Law Company. We’ll make sure that everyone has followed the rules—or, if they haven’t, we’ll get that evidence excluded from your trial. Call us at 703-385-5529, and set up a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.