Are you facing criminal charges in the Naples, FL area and wondering what chances you have at getting your charges dropped? A recent Florida domestic violence case might shed some light on the defenses you can bring to court.
In this case, the defendant argued that he was arrested unlawfully. The defendant argued that police officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they entered his motel room to make the warrantless arrest. Let’s take a closer look at the case.
Police responded to a domestic violence call at a motel where the defendant was staying. But they arrested the defendant by grabbing him from the window of his motel room after the supposed victim of the domestic violence was already safe.
So what exactly made this arrest unlawful?
- No warrant. In most circumstances, police may arrest without a warrant if they have “probable cause” that the person to be arrested committed a crime, according to Nolo. The exceptions to this are situations that violate the Fourth Amendment, which normally doesn’t allow warrantless arrests made in a location where the person arrested was entitled to privacy – such as a home or a hotel room.
- No “Exigent Circumstances.” In this case, it could have been lawful for the police to enter the hotel room without a warrant if they had reason to believe that someone else was in danger, such as the supposed violence victim. But when they made the arrest, the woman in the motel room had already exited the room and was clearly safe.
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle,” and protects against arbitrary arrests. According to Cornell Law, it protects the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” In most cases, the Fourth Amendment also applies to hotels, motels, and other rented accommodations because they are seen as temporary “homes,” according to Nolo,
In this Florida case, the defendant’s successful appeal rested in his argument that police arrested him unlawfully and entered his place of lodging without a warrant or lawful cause, thus violating the Fourth Amendment.
The rights to privacy outlined in the Fourth Amendment are a strong case against many arrests. However, there are circumstances where the law allows police to enter a home (including a hotel room) without a warrant and make an arrest.
When Can Police Lawfully Make a Warrantless Entry?
According to LegalZoom, there are a few ways that allow for lawful entry without warrant.
- Consent: If you voluntarily agree without being tricked or coerced into doing so, the police can search your property without a warrant. It’s essential to remember that police do not have to inform you that you have the right to refuse a search. Individuals have been arrested and even sent to jail because they did not know they had the right to refuse search and seizure.
- The Plain View Doctrine: Police can legally search an area and seize evidence if it is clearly visible. If the police see an illegal act occurring outside of your home, they may perform a search and seize evidence from your home without a warrant.
- Search Incident to Arrest: Police do not need a warrant to perform a search in connection with an arrest. If you are arrested for a crime, the police have the right to protect themselves by searching for weapons, evidence that could be destroyed, or accomplices to the crime. Police can also perform what is called a “protective sweep” following an arrest if they believe a dangerous accomplice or accomplices may be hiding inside a specific location. The police will walk through the location and can legally visually inspect places in which an accomplice may be hiding. In addition, the police can legally seize any evidence located in plain view during the sweep.
- Exigent Circumstances: If the police feel that the time it would take to get a warrant would jeopardize public safety or lead to the loss of evidence, they can perform a search without a warrant. The police officer’s responsibility to preserve evidence, arrest a suspect, or protect an individual outweighs the search warrant requirement.
This recent Florida case reveals how an experienced criminal defense attorney can turn the story around by revealing mistakes and unlawful practices made by the police regarding charges or arrests. Before you accept your conviction and the life-long penalties attached to it, have a criminal defense attorney like Michael M. Raheb examine your case and tell your side of the story! Call 239-226-0888 or contact us online.
The Law Offices of
Michael M. Raheb, P.A.
2423 First Street,
Fort Myers FL 33901
Fax Number: 866-949-0888