Law enforcement officers at the state and federal levels continue to pursue an unwinnable and increasingly expensive war on drugs all over the country, including Martin County, resulting in drug charges every day. These charges, along with potential subsequent convictions, can have collateral consequence on the life of an individual in a variety of ways. Prison sentences and convicted felon status await many of those convicted of a drug crime. The objective for a top – flight criminal defense attorney in Stuart is to have these charges dropped. When dealing with a drug charge, a good criminal lawyer in Stuart is likely to achieve this by challenging the validity of any search and seizure procedures used by law enforcement during the arrest with respect to the Fourth Amendment.
The exact wording of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is as follows:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
In essence, the Fourth Amendment intends to protect the privacy of an individual. In this context, privacy is generally defined as the freedom to choose which details or aspects of your personal life are revealed to the public and which of those that you would prefer to keep out of the public eye. The Fourth Amendment works to defend this right to privacy by protecting citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures conducted by law enforcement officers. On the other hand, the Fourth Amendment works to permit searches and seizures that can be deemed reasonable. In short, this means that law enforcement officers may sidestep any privacy concerns in order to search your property or your person if there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime could be found. Sometimes, a judge must issue a signed search warrant in order for the search and seizure to be considered reasonable. However, most searches that occur do not have an associated warrant due to the fact that law enforcement officers understand the many legal exceptions to the Fourth Amendment, and will “find a way” to articulate the probable cause required to make the search a legal one. This is where a persuasive criminal defense lawyer can be most valuable.
When the Fourth Amendment Does Not Apply – from the perspective of a Stuart Criminal Lawyer
If you freely give consent to a search, a warrantless search that would otherwise be considered unconstitutional is no longer considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which is therefore no longer usable by your Stuart criminal lawyer as a defense tactic. Furthermore, any contraband found as during the consensual search may be used in court to convict the accused individual. However, what is “freely and voluntarily” really mean? Again, a top-flight criminal lawyer can often times persuade a Judge that the accused “consent” was only a response to the intimidation or coercion of a police officer.
It is important to know that the Fourth Amendment also only applies when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, most people would agree that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public bathroom, which is why security cameras within public bathrooms are illegal. However, there are exceptions and nuances to this general rule of thumb. Again, a creative criminal lawyer can help find these nuances and present them to a Court for consideration at a Suppression Hearing.
One common example would be vehicle searches. If a police officer spots a clearly illegal items inside your car, for example, the Fourth Amendment does not apply and the officer may perform a search without concerns of reasonability. However, perhaps the initial reason for the traffic stop was not legitimate. If so, suppression of all contraband may apply. Also, any searches performed after a legal arrest are also exempt from the protections of the Fourth Amendment. Due to the complex nature of many cases that involve drug charges, the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart who knows 4th amendment search and seizure law can significantly turn the tables of the case in your favor.
When you find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney in Stuart, don’t settle for the cheapest guy in town. The law office of Brian H. Mallonee is dedicated to successfully representing every client at the highest level. With an extensive history of winning difficult cases, rest assured that your case is being dealt with by one of the most aggressive, distinguished defense attorneys in the state of Florida. Contact Stuart criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 or online, and take your first step towards a successful resolution to your criminal matter.