Last week a local judge ordered all evidence gathered by police as a result of a warrantless search and seizure of our client and his vehicle suppressed. As a result, this decision prevents the State from introducing evidence from our client's vehicle of drug possession, drug trafficking, and possession of criminal tools-all felonies which subjected our client to a maximum of 12 months in prison on each count and the possibility of a license suspension.
Our client, who was in town from Chicago for a local music festival, had been observed by police at a local hotel. Law enforcement became suspicious after running his license plate and discovering he had a prior drug offense on his record. Subsequent surveillance of our client did not reveal any illegal behavior or any behavior consistent with drug trafficking.
Our client was subsequently stopped for a traffic violation and was detained pending further investigation. Law enforcement then ran a license check, as is customary with most traffic stops, but also, because of our client's past history, requested a criminal background check. These checks took approximately 22 minutes after the stop. After they were completed, our client was detained an additional 16-17 minutes before giving to consent to search his vehicle. The client was then detained an additional 17-18 minutes until a canine search could be performed. This canine search did not indicate the presence of narcotics. However, the officer's subsequent search of the vehicle yielded contraband.
Our office filed a motion to suppress in this case arguing that the continued detention of our client was unreasonable in light of the lack of reasonable suspicion that he was involved in drug trafficking. Following a hearing on the matter, the Court agreed with us and ruled that there was simply not enough evidence to justify the prolonged detention of our client as the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to suspect our client or his girlfriend of criminal activity based on law enforcement's previous observations.
If you are facing a drug offense, please speak with a competent attorney who has won trials and motions to suppress so you can protect yourself from the many consequences of a drug conviction, including loss of employment and substantial financial consequences. Please call our office for a free consultation to talk to one of our criminal defense attorneys to discuss your rights.