This is the next post in my series on prescription drug related offenses in the Phoenix area. My last post focused on the Arizona penalties for prescription related offenses and also discussed the need to contact an attorney if you are facing such charges. I have also looked at whether Phoenix residents should enter the TASC program. In this article I will discuss how the Fourth Amendment applies when an illegal search & seizure by law enforcement resulted in the finding of narcotics.
The Fourth Amendment protects Phoenix, Arizona residents who have been unlawfully searched by law enforcement
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Phoenix Arizona residents, as well as all other U.S. citizens, against an “unreasonable search or seizure” by law enforcement. This means that, under the case of Terry v. Ohio, the police may not detain a person unless they have reasonable suspicion that such a person is engaging in criminal activity. Police, therefore, cannot detain and search a person simply because they want to. Law enforcement must observe actual conduct which makes them believe that one is engaging in criminal activity. If a Phoenix resident is stopped, without the police observing such conduct, then one’s defense attorney can challenge the use of acquired evidence in Court proceedings.
The first step in most drug cases is for your criminal defense lawyer to analyze the police reports, and other discovery, in order to determine the facts under which drugs were seized. More often than many realize, a violation of constitutional rights will be readily apparent from simply reading the police report. If feasible, defense counsel will interview the arresting officers and will file a Motion to Suppress. A court appearance known as an “evidentiary hearing” will be held shortly thereafter. The arresting officer will be required to testify in regards to the facts of the arrest and, depending on the circumstances, other witnesses may testify as well. If the Court finds that the Fourth Amendment was violated then the prosecution will not be allowed to introduce the prescription drugs, or make any reference of them, during a trial. Since it is essentially not possible to prove a drug case without drugs, this would end the prosecution.
Phoenix residents should immediately consult with a lawyer after having been arrested for a prescription drug related offense
The issue I cannot stress enough is that Phoenix residents should contact an attorney immediately if they have been arrested for a prescription drug related offense. Quite often people will feel as if their rights were violated by the police while, at the same time, they will feel powerless in regards to the situation. An experienced attorney can take the steps necessary to ensure that your liberties are protected.
I service all of Phoenix and other Maricopa County cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. My office also assists Pima County residents in Tucson. Call today to discuss your situation with counsel.