Criminal Defense Attorney John Greene Aggressively Defends Drug & Marijuana Cases Throughout Northwest Florida
Putting Case Law to Work For You
When I met with John he told me about a case that had just been argued before the US Supreme Court that was similar to mine. He cited that case in my motion to suppress and my case was dismissed.Posted by Rob (avvo.com)
MANY DRUG ARRESTS ARE MADE INCIDENT TO A TRAFFIC STOP FOR INFRACTIONS SUCH AS SPEEDING OR RUNNING A STOP SIGN
I recently represented a client that had been arrested for possession of drugs. He had been riding as a passenger in a car that was stopped for speeding on Interstate 10. The deputy, without probable cause, conducted an “open air” canine search of the exterior of the vehicle. The deputy testified that his canine alerted to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. The deputy conducted a search of the vehicle and found pills for which nobody had a prescription.
My client had met with four other attorneys prior to our meeting. The other attorneys told my client he should take the State’s offer. When I met with the client the facts of his case sounded very similar to a case that was pending before the United States Supreme Court in Rodriguez v. U.S. I advised the client to reject the State’s plea offer and allow me to thoroughly explore his defenses.
I secured copies of the arrest report, the dog’s training and performance records, the dash cam video and audio, and took the deputy’s deposition. The deputy testified that he was immediately suspicious of the occupants of the vehicle, and after a second unit arrived on scene, conducted an open air sniff search with his canine, Risko. He explained the dog was trained to detect the odor of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and meth and described the dog’s behavioral changes constituting an alert.
The State turned over to the defense hundreds of pages of training and performance records. While reading the records, I discovered that the deputy had doctored up the results. When the video was played in court the dog did not display any behavioral changes. A fact that was noted by Judge Patterson. The kicker was that no substance that the dog was trained to detect was ever found in the vehicle.
Several days after my client’s hearing on his motion to suppress, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Rodriguez v. U.S., holding that a traffic stop prolonged beyond the time reasonably required complete the officer’s traffic mission is unlawful. In other words, the time it takes to issue a traffic citation and to attend to any related safety concerns. Judge Patterson granted the motion to suppress the evidence, stating that in my client’s case the dog sniff prolonged the stop without any justification. All charges against my client were dismissed.
Points to Consider When Defending a Drug or Marijuana Case
It is important to test whether the arresting officer had probable cause to search a person or a vehicle by means of a motion to suppress the evidence. Likewise, a search warrant must be supported by affidavit and proof setting forth facts which establish grounds for probable cause to the satisfaction of a judge or magistrate.
One of the most important legal distinctions to be considered in a prosecution of a drug offense in Florida is the difference between actual and constructive possession.
- Actual possession occurs when the drugs are found on the arrested person or in the area of his immediate control.
- Constructive possession occurs, for example, when the drugs are found under a car seat or in the trunk, or are scattered in a home or apartment.
Often times there are multiple persons present to whom the drugs may belong. To prove constructive possession the prosecutor must prove that the accused had control over the drugs, and that the accused had knowledge of the presence of the drugs.
Protect Your Rights Today
When you are facing criminal charges in Florida, it is important to turn to an experienced drug offense lawyer for guidance. Contact me to schedule an initial consultation. I will thoroughly investigate your situation and work to have the charges against you dismissed or minimize the consequences.