If you’ve been charged with drug possession or are facing charges for another crime based on evidence gathered in a police search, don’t accept your penalties without having an experienced criminal defense attorney evaluate your case. It’s possible that the police search was unauthorized, making any evidence found unusable in a case against you.
In a recent Florida case, the defendant was accused of serious drug crimes but was able to successfully appeal by raising two issues that the court agreed had merit. This case is setting a legal standard for future cases of similar nature.
When the defendant stopped at a gas station in Florida, police searched his car on the basis that it had been seen running a red light earlier. The defendant was taken into custody and the car was impounded for an inventory search. When the car was searched, police found several types of drugs including alprazolam, oxycodone, clonazepam, and cocaine. The defendant was charged with drug possession and drug trafficking.
Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress any evidence found in
the rental car because he claimed that no probable cause supported his arrest, no probable cause or legal basis existed to search the vehicle, and no consent to search was obtained, and the search was not a valid inventory search. The State argued that the defendant’s challenge was not valid because the car in question was a rental car and the defendant’s name was not on the rental agreement or the payment receipts. The court argued that the defendant could not challenge the police search of a car that the defendant was not technically authorized to drive in the first place. The court argued that if the owner of the car – in this case, the rental company – had not directly authorized the defendant to drive the car, then the defendant was not authorized to challenge the police search.
The defense counsel argued that the defendant had standing to challenge the search because he was in possession of the car at the time of the stop, but the court overruled this.
On appeal, the defendant used a recent supreme court decision (Byrd v. United States), to argue that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress the drug evidence found in the rental car. the defendant successfully appealed his case by arguing that even if the car in question was a rental car, he still had a reasonable expectation of privacy while driving the car, and therefore had a right to challenge the search of the car. On the basis of the previous similar case, Byrd v. United States, the court decided the defendant’s claims were valid, and that the defendant was entitled to a new trial.
This is an important case because there are very few similar cases. Court decisions in cases like this have the power to write the law and be the basis of court decisions moving forward. According to Columbia University, these kinds of decisions are examples of case law, which refers to the written opinions of appellate courts deciding a point of law.
Do you find yourself in a situation where you have been accused of drug possession or another crime but you believe that the evidence was gathered by police without lawful authorization? Whether situations like yours have been historically represented in case law or not, a criminal defense attorney can help courts see the merit of your appeals.
An experienced criminal defense attorney like Michael M. Raheb can help you prove your case and aggressively fight to remove or lower your charges. Criminal charges can wreck your life with severe immediate and long term consequences. In this recent Florida case, the defendant was facing severe consequences that could have amounted to either a Third Degree Felony or a First Degree Felony. According to FindLaw, these convictions could have resulted in up to five years to up to 30 years in prison plus heavy fines of up to $250,000, respectively. FindLaw lists entrapment arranged by police and Fourth Amendment violation due to unlawful search and seizure as two viable defenses against drug charges.
You deserve another chance to convincingly share your side of the story. With 30 years of experience, Michael M. Raheb offers aggressive criminal defense services to clients in Naples, Florida and beyond.
As one of Florida’s premier criminal defense attorneys, Michael M. Raheb puts his clients first by offering personal attention to every case and flexible appointment hours. Contact Michael M. Raheb today by calling 239-226-0888 or sending us a message online.
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Fort Myers FL 33901
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