State v. B.M.; Case No. 562009MM001569 (St. Lucie County)
Drug and Narcotics Charges
St. Lucie County Sheriffs Office
Our client was a passenger in a vehicle cruising along on a flat tire with hazard lights activated. The police conducted a traffic stop. The officer detected an odor of alcohol on the driver. The officer noticed our client “moving about the front passenger area.” He removed him from the vehicle. The officer conducted a “frisk” of our client for his safety. The officer said he felt a “baggie” of marijuana and removed it from our client’s pocket. Charged with possession of marijuana, our client was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to jail.
We prepared and filed a Motion to Suppress, arguing that the pat-down frisk of our client was illegal. We set the motion for a hearing. While waiting for our cases to be called the prosecutor approached us and made us an offer for drug court. We politely refused the offer. But once our case was finally called, the prosecutor asked for a continuance because the arresting officer didn’t show up for the hearing. The defense objected to the continuance and pointed out that the defense filed its “notice of hearing” a month prior to the date of the hearing. Next, the prosecutor suggested that the court take “judicial notice” of the arrest affidavit and treat it as the state’s presentation. Again, the defense objected and pointed out that Florida law requires the prosecution to meet its burden with evidence at a Motion to Suppress hearing that involves a warrantless search.
Finally, in what was potentially a last-ditch effort to sneak one past us, the State agreed to drop the case. Under Florida law, the State can refile charges after they drop them. This could give the State another bite at the apple. In response to the State’s announcement that they would be dropping the charges, the defense insisted on a ruling from the Judge. The Judge granted our Motion and all charges were dropped.