How Does Law Enforcement Investigate Drug Cases in Norfolk?

Below, a Norfolk drug lawyer discusses investigations in Norfolk and how they are conducted against those accused of committing a drug related offense. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case call today.

What Agencies Are Involved in Investigating Drug Cases in Norfolk?

In Norfolk it is the local police department which then hands it off to the Commonwealth Attorneys and sometimes the DEA will get involved on bigger investigations.

Are Drug Charges An Offense That Norfolk Law Enforcement Officers Are Attempting to Crack Down On?

We are not sure if Norfolk law enforcement officers are attempting to crack down on drug charges in general but we do know that in recent years there has been consumption of some synthetic forms of drugs. There is actually a type of synthetic marijuana that used to be sold out of shops and goes forth somewhere on the line that was advertised as a legal version of marijuana.

We have heard it referred locally as ‘Spice’ as well as ‘Synthetic Cannabis’ or ‘Scooby Snacks.’ These particular synthetic drugs in the more recent years law enforcement officers have definitely cracked down on them. They have also been specifically added to the Virginia statute that is probably a statewide thing that has been going on.

In What Ways Are Drug Cases Typically Investigated in Norfolk?

The two most common ways that these cases come about are by coincidence and by thorough investigation. The former happens for example when a law enforcement officer pulls someone over for a traffic infraction and then in course of the stop they discover drugs in the vehicle or on the person. The latter happens typically through confidential police informants or undercover police officers who are used to build a case against someone or a group of people. This is a lengthier and more indepth process obviously. Once the police have enough evidence to build the case it is forwarded to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office which can then become involved in the investigation as well. The DEA can sometimes get involved in bigger cases if they reach the Federal level.

Is it Common in Norfolk For Law Enforcement Officers to Search for Drugs During Traffic Stops?

We wouldn’t say it is necessarily common for officers to search but sometimes law enforcement officers will ask if they can search the driver’s vehicle during routine traffic stops or at checkpoints. During the stop officers may take actions that are reasonably related to the reason for the stop in the first place or related to any reasonable suspicions that may arise in the course of the stop. Unless they have probable cause to believe that there are drugs to be found from that search then you don’t have to consent to the search as a driver.

If the officer asks if he can search the vehicle you can either refuse or you can exercise your right to remain silent or you can consent. Consent cannot be invoked by silence. This whole process can definitely raise constitutional issues. Law enforcement officers cannot just use a traffic stop as an excuse to begin a search unless there is a probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband weapons. It is really important to know what actions are permitted and what constitutes going too far.

Officers have the authority to ask vehicle occupants to step out of the vehicle even if there is no reason to believe any illegal activity is taking place besides the reason for the stop but an officer does not have authority to frisk someone without a reason to believe that the person is carrying some sort of weapon.

If an officer happens upon some drugs when the occupant is stepping out of the vehicle like if the driver had been sitting on the drugs to hide them then the seizure of the drugs is legal. However if he happens upon some drugs during an illegal frisk and the drug is found as a result of an illegal search and are considered fruits of a poisonous tree and cannot be used. Searches and seizures can bring out many constitutional issues and it is really important for all the proper steps to be followed in these types of cases.