Could Police Mistakes Help Your Defense?
If you’re facing criminal charges, you know you’re in hot water! You could be facing some very stiff penalties in Florida depending on the charges. Now, more than ever, it is critical to have an experienced local criminal defense attorney working on your behalf. At The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to working attentively for clients—starting with a close examination of any potential errors made by law enforcement. Departures from protocol occur more often than you’d guess, and could lead to a boost in your defense.
Crime Scene not Properly Secured
In the event police fail to secure a crime scene properly, anyone at all could have wandered through it, contaminating evidence, adding more items, and even taking important evidence from the scene. Anything discovered there could be open to question. Was any evidence tampered with? Did inadvertent smudging or damage occur after unauthorized officers and others trampled through the scene? Could anything have been accidentally left at the scene that were not there originally, such as tire tracks, footprints, or other forms of evidence? Challenging the admittance of evidence from an unsecured crime scene could change the trajectory of a case!
Chain of Custody Issues
If evidence is improperly collected, safeguarded, and documented, the reliability of the material falls into question. Failing to observe strict chain of custody protocols could result in a judge excluding that evidence so the jury never sees or hears about it.
Improper Stop, Search, or Seizure
When police stop someone on foot or in a vehicle, it should not happen based simply on the clothes a person is wearing, the type of car someone might be driving, or the color of a person’s skin. There are particular rules that must be followed anytime the police decide to stop someone, let alone search their property or seize materials. There has to be a reasonable suspicion that you’ve been involved in criminal activity in order to stop you to begin with. If an officer actually witnesses suspicious behavior, that could be probable cause to stop or search you. Otherwise, a warrant (which requires probable cause to obtain) or your consent is necessary.
More About Search Warrants…
Warrants are issued by judges or magistrates based on probable cause that officers present showing that they expect to find evidence of criminal activity. Warrant requests are submitted with rather specific details outlining what police expect to find, and permit seizure of only those items related to the suspected activity in question, or if unrelated materials are noticed during a reasonable search for the items listed on the warrant. For instance, if the warrant relates to a stolen stereo, a stereo discovered in a storage shed could rightfully be seized. If fentanyl is discovered because it was sitting atop the stereo or on a box nearby, it too can be seized because it was exposed during a reasonable search for the stereo listed in the warrant. On the other hand, if the drugs are found in the glove compartment of the suspect’s vehicle it is not fair game because stereo equipment could not be found in the glove compartment, and searching there was not reasonable.
The Defense You Deserve
If you are charged with criminal charges, you are entitled to a vigorous defense. The Miami criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos are fervent, aggressive, and proficient as they fight for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation today.