If you or a loved one have been arrested and evidence was seized without a warrant as a result of the arrest you are entitled to a suppression hearing to determine whether the evidence was properly seized. In many cases, a law enforcement officer will improperly seize evidence after a warrantless arrest, without probable cause. At a suppression hearing, the State bears the burden of establishing that the evidence was legally seized. The state must prove that arrest was proper and that the officer legally obtained the evidence.
What Happens to Evidence If You Are Illegally Detained and Arrest?
Any evidence obtained as a result of illegal detention and arrest must be suppressed pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 12 of the Florida Constitution. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that the people have a right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
What Is a Police-citizen Encounter?
There are essentially three levels of police-citizen encounters. The first level is considered a consensual encounter and involves only minimal police contact. During a consensual encounter, a citizen may either voluntarily comply with a police officer’s requests or choose to ignore them. A citizen is free to leave during a consensual encounter.
The second level of police-citizen encounters involves an investigatory stop. At this level, a police officer may reasonably detain a citizen temporarily if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. In order not to violate a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights, an investigatory stop requires a well-founded, articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Mere suspicion is not enough to support a stop.
The third level of police-citizen encounters involves an arrest that must be supported by probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed.
What Is an Illegal Stop and Arrest?
As a general rule, an encounter between a police officer and a citizen becomes an investigative stop when a citizen is not free to leave. If the officers do not have a reasonable suspicion that the citizen has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, there is no well-founded suspicion of criminal activity. When a law enforcement officer detains a citizen, without reasonable suspicion, or probable cause to arrest, the detention is invalid. When initial detention is illegal, all that flows from it is also illegal. For example, if a person is improperly stopped and arrested and drugs are located on the person after the arrest, any evidence obtained after the illegal arrest must be thrown out or suppressed because the person was illegally arrested.
Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you or a loved one have been illegally stopped and searched, you may be entitled to have any evidence obtained as a result of that stop thrown out or suppressed, and the case dismissed. The state must prove that the evidence was lawfully seized. It is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer and determine whether you are entitled to a suppression hearing. A suppression hearing may be the difference between the dismissal of the charges and a long prison sentence.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
If you or someone you know has been improperly stopped and arrested for possession of illegal drugs or contraband in the Tampa Bay area and needs help, Fernandez & Hernandez will guide you through the process and may be able to assist you in getting the outcome you deserve. If you or a loved one would like to challenge the seizure of evidence obtained during or after your arrest, call Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.
Search and seizure cases can be complex. The attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez are bilingual and will provide a free and confidential consultation so that you can discuss your situation. Fernandez & Hernandez can help you understand all of your options and may be able to help you find a solution.
Tampa Criminal defense attorney Daniel J. Fernandez has experience with search and seizure cases and will work diligently to get your situation resolved. Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez can help guide you through the process. If you need legal assistance with a search and seizure case call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at (813) 229-5353.