Sometimes, Florida can be famous – or infamous – for news stories with strange twists. While some of those twists might elicit a chuckle or two, the possible legal consequences for the subjects of those news articles can be profoundly serious. If you are facing arrest, it’s no joke. Make sure you retain a skilled Tampa Bay defense attorney.
One possible takeaway from a recent South Florida news story is this: if you are going to cut off someone in traffic in Miami-Dade County, make sure it isn’t a law enforcement officer. One man made that mistake and found himself the subject of a traffic stop, according to a recent Miami Herald report. Once the police initiated the traffic stop, they found several things they deemed suspicious inside the man’s car. These included six guns, several bottles of strong cough syrup (without a prescription), suspected marijuana oil and nearly $20,000 in cash.
The Herald report also noted that the police proudly touted the bust on a local TV station. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” the police told CBS 4. There was one not-so-small problem: it wasn’t a “good” bust.
This leads to another lesson: if you find yourself arrested in a situation like this, make certain to hire skilled defense counsel. The man and his passenger did that. Their lawyer performed his due diligence and obtained the police body-camera footage of the arrest. The video showed that the police never obtained permission to search the trunk; the officer simply ordered the suspect to open the trunk. This meant that the search was an illegal search, a fact which even the prosecution realized, according to the report.
To perform a search, the law requires the police either to have permission from the owner, have a search warrant or have probable cause. This traffic stop did not give this officer probable cause to search the suspect’s trunk, so the search was illegal. Additionally, there were more problems that the defense attorney found. The suspect legally owned the six guns in question and had the proper concealed weapons permits for them. It was never established whether or not the cough syrup had codeine in it (which would have required a prescription), because the police never sent the syrup to the police lab for analysis, according to the Herald.
As for the cash, the police seized it as drug money because their drug dog alerted on the money. The dog’s reaction indicated that the cash allegedly had been “in close proximity” to a large quantity of drugs. Of course, the lone fact that the cash allegedly had been near drugs, even if true, did not necessarily mean that it was the suspect’s drug money or that they were involved in illegal drug activity. The money was located in the purse of the suspect’s passenger, who was also his wife. The wife worked at a nearby gentlemen’s club and, according to a co-worker, earned “significant cash tips.”
There was also other evidence that the police allegedly ignored, according to the defense lawyer, which would seem to indicate that the cash was an exotic dancer’s tip money. “I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” the couple’s lawyer told the court during a hearing.
A Miami-Dade judge did agree with the defense attorney, though, and ordered the cash returned to the couple.
The law gives everyone certain rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to an attorney when you’re under arrest. If you’ve had your Fourth Amendment rights violated and find yourself facing criminal charges, exercise your Sixth Amendment right to get the legal help you need. The skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorneys at Blake & Dorstem P.A. have been providing clients with effective criminal defense representation for many years. Call us today at (727) 286-6141 to schedule your FREE initial consultation and get the information you need.
More blog posts:
Million-to-One Shot: Florida Suspect Theorizes that Cocaine ‘Must Have Flown’ Into Her Purse, Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, April 19, 2018
Manatee County Murder Suspect Gets a New Trial Because Police Interviewed Him Without His Lawyer Present, Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, March 15, 2018