If you suspect that you are being investigated for a drug crime, the actions you take now will have a big impact on the types of charges–if any–and how your case will unfold.
Federal agents and drug task forces do not generally use their resources to investigate simple drug possession. Their goal is to arrest significant offenders. So, if you sense you are being watched or investigated by agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the Drug Enforcement Section of the Virginia State Police, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
A serious drug trafficking investigation requires evidence that you possessed drugs, and intended to or actually transferred them to another individual. This could include a video of you making a drug deal, statements from an informant, the results of a search, or statements you make to the police.
These are complicated criminal cases with severe penalties. But you can take steps to help yourself. The first thing you should do if you are under investigation for a drug crime is to contact an experienced drug crimes attorney.
Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico is a highly skilled and aggressive criminal defense firm in Southwest Virginia. We know how drug investigations work and where to look for weaknesses. This has led to a long history of getting the best possible results for our clients.
Call (540) 343-9349 right away for a free and confidential consultation.
Hire an Attorney With Drug Crime Experience
A skilled lawyer can do a lot to help your situation.
If the police arrest you, they will inform you that you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. Once you ask for your attorney, they are not allowed to question you further. If the police or federal agents continue to question you after this point, whatever you say cannot be admitted into evidence.
A lawyer with prior experience in drug cases will be a valuable resource. They will understand how law enforcement collects evidence, how to ensure your rights are respected, and what options are available. Their work early on could help you secure a dismissal, reduced charges, or to avoid formal charges altogether.
Arrested for a Drug Crime? Remain Silent
Do not assume that you can talk your way out of drug charges. As a general rule, the less you say to the police, the better.
Any statement you make can be taken out of context. The police may try to intimidate (or charm) you into talking to them, but do not fall into this trap.
Only your lawyer should talk to the police on your behalf. Your lawyer has the training to deal with law enforcement without inadvertently giving them more evidence.
Do Not Consent to a Search
Unless an officer shows up at your door with a warrant, you are under no obligation to allow them to enter.
However, there are some situations where the police may enter your home–even by force if necessary. These include but are not limited to if they believe someone is in danger, if they are pursuing a suspect, or if they believe evidence is being destroyed. In these cases, they can knock down your door and enter.
Even if the police enter by force, make sure to clearly say that you do not consent to a search.
What About Vehicle Searches?
You may also deny consent to a search of your vehicle. However, the police do not need a warrant to search your vehicle. All they need is probable cause to believe that they will find contraband.
Tell the officers you do not consent to the search, but do not panic if they search your car without consent. In many cases, what they find will not be admitted because the initial traffic stop was made without a valid reason or probable cause wasn’t established.
Do Not Trust the Police
Many people falsely believe that the police are not allowed to lie. In reality, lying to suspects is one of their most effective techniques. An undercover DEA agent or police officer does not need to admit that they’re a cop if you ask them. A police officer seeking to enter your home may kindly ask if they can step inside, but what they really mean is: “can I search your home for illegal drugs?”
Despite any claims that they are acting in your interests, when it comes to drug investigations, the police have ulterior motives. Remember that federal drug investigators often team up with local cops. The municipal or state police officer stopping you and asking if you need help with your car could be participating in a drug investigation.
Do Not Destroy Evidence
If you hear the police knocking on your door, your first instinct might be to flush contraband down the toilet. But destroying evidence is a crime, and it’s unlikely that you will be able to destroy everything before the police catch you. Then, you’ll find yourself facing two charges.
In addition, if the police suspect you are destroying evidence inside your home, they will have the authority to enter without your consent or a warrant.
Be Careful with Your Communications & Movements
If the police target you in a drug investigation, they may obtain a warrant authorizing them to place a tap on your phone, access your phone records, or put a GPS tracker on your car. For this reason, you should be cautious about what you say on the phone, where you choose to go, and whose company you keep.
Drug Investigatiosn Do Not Equal Convictions
To obtain a drug conviction, a prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that you attempted, conspired to commit, or actually committed the drug offense they allege. By following the actions described, you may be able to limit or reduce the impact on your life. But if you do get charged as a result of a drug investigation, hiring a skilled Roanoke drug crime lawyer can maximize your chances of avoiding criminal penalties.