General Drug Crimes Defense
Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure are the fundamental defense to drugs crimes in the St. Louis area. Faulty police procedure or conduct can often lead to the suppression of drug evidence and result in the dismissal of criminal charges.
Illegal Search After a Traffic Stop – Many drug charges begin with a traffic stop, often times for something simple such as speeding or rolling through a stop sign. During the traffic stop a police officer can ask if there is anything illegal in the vehicle, or even ask for the driver’s consent to search the vehicle. If the driver gives consent to search the vehicle then the officer is legally allowed to conduct the search, even if there was no reason for the officer to have asked for permission to search the vehicle in the first place.
When a police officer is not granted consent by the driver to search the vehicle, he can still legally conduct a search, but now the officer will have to be able to justify the search with probable cause. These are the most general and basic of the legal rules that apply to automobile searches. More than almost any other area of law, there are many specific instances and exceptions built into this area of law and all vehicle searches that result in drug charges should be examined by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Illegal Search of a House – Similar to vehicle searches, there are many specifics that apply to the search of a person’s home. Even with consent police officers may be allowed to go into some rooms but not others. Even with a search warrant signed by a judge there still may be certain places the police cannot go, and certain things they may not be authorized to seize. For example, if the police have a search warrant that allows them to look for and seize rifles, then they would not be allowed to look in drawers or containers where a rifle would not fit.
If drugs were found in such a container during this hypothetical warrant search for rifles, then the drugs would be able to be suppressed and could not be used as evidence in court.