If law enforcement suspects that people are engaged in unlawful activity within a residence, they will typically obtain a warrant to search the property and seize any evidence of illegal behavior. The police must have more than a hunch that a person is breaking the law to obtain a warrant, though, and if a warrant is issued without just cause, any evidence obtained via the subsequent search may be inadmissible. Recently, a Florida court explained what constitutes reasonable suspicion for the purposes of issuing a warrant, in a case in which the defendant moved to suppress evidence that led to numerous theft and weapons charges, on the basis that the court lacked adequate grounds to issue a warrant. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is advisable to speak to a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to determine what you can do to protect your rights.
The Defendant’s Charges
Allegedly, the police searched the defendant’s home pursuant to a warrant and found firearms, weapons paraphernalia, evidence of fraud, and electronic identity theft devices. The defendant was subsequently charged with aggravated identity theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of federal law. He moved for suppression of the evidence obtained via the warrant. The case was referred to a magistrate judge, who issued a report recommending that the court deny the motion. The defendant filed objections in response to the recommendation. The court ultimately found the defendant’s objections unavailing and denied his motion.
Reasonable Suspicion in Criminal Cases
Under the Fourth Amendment, warrants will not be issued absent probable cause, supported by an affirmation or oath that specifically describes the place to be searched and the things or people to be seized. Probable cause to issue a search warrant is present when the circumstances, taken as a whole, demonstrate that there is a fair likelihood that evidence of a crime or contraband will be found in a particular case. Continue Reading ›