According to a recent news report from Central Alabama News, sheriff’s deputies in Jefferson County went to a house looking for a 35-year-old suspect as part of an investigation into a theft. When they arrived at the house, the 64-year-old resident told the deputies suspect was not home, but he allegedly told the deputies to come into the house and take a look around.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that, during this search, deputies found a bag containing what they believe to be crystal meth. At this point, authorities detained resident and took him outside his home, so a narcotics unit could come in and investigate the alleged crime scene. Authorities further alleged, when they were conducting a search of the home, resident was seen trying to hide the bag, which purportedly contained methamphetamine. Sheriff’s deputies secured a warrant and removed the alleged drugs from the home and placed resident under arrest.
During their full search of the residence, authorities report they also found around $6,000 worth of meth, pills of some kind, scales, and three guns. Prosecutors charged resident with trafficking methamphetamine. He is currently being held on $1 million bond.
In addition to this arrest, while deputies were processing the alleged crime scene, their original suspect arrived at the home and was allegedly seen trying to hide a bag of meth in his waistband. Police arrested him, and prosecutors charged him with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. A judge released suspect from jail on a $3,000 bond, which he was able to post.
As our Birmingham drug charges lawyers can explain, a case involving search of a home typically involves additional litigation, which is more complex than other cases. This is because people have more rights to be secure in their home from illegal search and seizure pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution than one does when he or she is out in public.
However, police will typically claim defendant gave consent to search a home as a way to get around requirement to have a warrant or show other exigent (emergency) circumstances to validate a warrantless search and seizure of a defendant’s residence.
While many defendants will tell their attorneys they did not actually give consent, it is often difficult to convince a judge police, as opposed to a criminal defendant, are lying. This does not mean, however, an experienced drug defense attorney cannot get any evidence obtained from a warrantless search declared inadmissible as fruits of a poisonous tree.
In cases where defendant allegedly gave his or her consent, it may be possible to convince a judge that, even if defendant gave his or her consent, the search the police conducted exceeded the scope of the alleged consent. For example, if a defendant really gave consent to search a home to look for a suspect, the police may only look in places large enough to hide suspect. This means they could open a closet or look under a bed, but they could not open a drawer on a nightstand, because a person could not possibly be hiding in that drawer. If they open that drawer and find drugs, it could be considered outside the scope of consent.