According to a recent news article from The Daily Caller, a student at the University of Alabama was recently arrested for allegedly possessing around 10,000 Xanax pills, and over 140 grams of marijuana.
Authorities say they arrested the suspect in Tuscaloosa, while he was allegedly in possession of what they are describing as massive amounts of prescription narcotics. As a sergeant on the West Alabama Narcotics Taskforce said, it took more than month of investigation before they had the name and address for the suspect and enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant and arrest warrant.
As our Birmingham criminal defense attorneys can explain, in order for the police to arrest someone at home, without actually witnessing that person commit a felony and being in “hot pursuit” of the suspect when he or she enters his or her home, the police need to go to a judge or magistrate and obtain an arrest warrant. While there are some types of arrests that do not need a warrant, in the vast majority of cases, police will need to get a warrant to arrest a person in his or her own home, because this was the very conduct by the British army that the drafters of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights were trying to prevent when creating these documents.
In this recent arrest involving the University of Alabama student, authorities are estimating the value of the alleged drugs found in the suspect’s home had a street value of approximately $75,000. However, it should be noted that police and prosecutors tend to far overestimate the so-called street value of illegal narcotics when it is convenient for them during a bail argument or at trial. They also do not mention that suspect, if he was actually selling illegal drugs, would probably have to pay back his supplier once he sold the drugs and might actually be retaining only a very small portion of the proceeds from the sale.
In this case, prosecutors charged suspect with possession of a controlled substance, first-degree possession of marijuana, and also of selling drugs near a school. He was held in jail on a $35,000 bond.
A school zone enhancement is way that prosecutors can enhance the minimum penalty for cases that are misdemeanors or felonies. With a school zone, the government can enhance the consequences of a drug charge if the offense occurred within school zone. One of the reasons school zones are more common that one might think is that prosecutors and police try to measure a thousand feet as the crow flies. In other words, even though it would take far more than a thousand feet to drive to crime scene, this could still be a school zone. If a straight line was between each points, it would be less than 1,000 feet, and this will most likely satisfy the requirement, as it is less than a thousand feet as the crow flies.
It is important to note that this suspect in the case has not been convicted of any crime in connection with this matter and is innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.