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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Is A Warrant Required For A Drug Arrest?

Is A Warrant Required For A Drug Arrest?


The average person generally believes that law enforcement must always obtain a warrant in order to make an arrest. In reality, there are several different scenarios in which a warrant may not be required, and many of them occur in situations involving drugs. In general, if you have been charged with a Florida drug offense, it will often be a good idea to raise the question of whether law enforcement in fact followed proper procedure during your arrest.

Why Don’t They Need A Warrant?

Both the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Sec. 12 of the Florida Constitution prohibit “unreasonable” searches and seizures. However, “unreasonable” can mean different things in different situations. In general, if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer (LEO) and they do not have probable cause to search you or any of your property, any evidence they discover in an ensuing search will be inadmissible in court (that is, unable to be used against you in court).

That said, if there is another factor that replaces probable cause, a search without a warrant will often be acceptable. For example, if you consent to a search of your person, no probable cause is required (though if you only consent to a body search, law enforcement cannot search, say, your vehicle). Alternatively, if a LEO is “in pursuit,” or they are working in a situation in which evidence might be destroyed, most magistrates will not require probable cause for an arrest.

Use Errors To Your Advantage

The law protects citizens from “unreasonable” searches and seizure, but in Florida, it is unfortunately not uncommon for law enforcement to have a very different definition of “unreasonable” than the average citizen might. Drug crimes are taken extremely seriously in Florida, and this can sometimes make both law enforcement and state’s attorneys a bit overzealous. A law enforcement officer’s error may be your gain.

One of the most common examples of search and seizure errors is a too-enthusiastic “stop and frisk.” A “stop and frisk” is when an LEO can legally stop a person they believe is committing or has committed a crime, and search their person. However, the stop must not be overlong; it must be short enough for a reasonable person to classify it as temporary. If the stop is too long, a knowledgeable attorney may have grounds to challenge the evidence obtained from the search.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

If you are stopped and searched, it is crucial to keep in mind that law enforcement cannot simply do as they please during that period of time. You have rights under both state and federal law, and if they are violated, you can challenge any charges against you on that basis. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can advise you on your rights and answer any other questions you may have. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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