It is common in drug crime prosecutions throughout Los Angeles, California, even the United States, that people's homes are searched and drugs are found. The question becomes what do you do? What defenses might you have?
Obviously, if it's your home that's involved and there's nobody else that lives there and there's drugs found there and there's a significant amount of drugs and they've got a drug crime investigation.
Then, you're going to be the one that gets pointed to and they're going to be prosecuting you assuming they can prove that you have illegal drugs and that they're your drugs.
Retain a Criminal Lawyer Immediately
What I would recommend is to get a criminal defense attorney as quick as possible so that you can be in the best position to be able to either defend yourself, if the case is defensible, or minimize and mitigate the damages that can come to you related to a drug crime prosecution.
If there's multiple people at a home, then you might have a defense that those are not your drugs if they find drugs inside your home.
That's going to depend on where exactly the drugs are found and what evidence and information the authorities have when they enter the home.
Usually they have information from either an informant or through surveillance or both that there's some sort of drug activity going on.
Maybe they wiretapped someone's phone. Maybe they followed somebody to that location. There's all sorts of ways that they can determine that there's drugs in a home.
Fourth Amendment Right Against Searches and Seizures
A lot of people ask me, how do they get into the home in the first place? I have a real problem with the police coming into my home.
Don't I have a Fourth Amendment right against searches and seizures in my home? Of course, you do. The issue is going to be what's the probable cause to get into the home.
Now you start talking about them getting a search warrant. Going to a judge and saying, hey judge, we think there's going to be drugs in this home.
We think there's going to be cash in this home. We think there's going to be guns in this home — and the cash and the guns are okay in a home.
As long as there's not drugs that are being sole illegally either from the home or that are in the home that are going to be sold outside the home somewhere.
When you combined that with cash and guns, you put yourself in a much more difficult position.
Probable Cause in Drug Crime Cases
So, you're talking about probable cause. How do they get probable cause that there's going to be drugs in the home. Listen to that language very carefully.
There has to be probable cause that there's going to be drugs found in the home. Not probable cause, necessarily, that a person is involved with drugs.
It doesn't necessary mean there's going to be drugs in the home. So, that's how they're going to come at you.
They have to be able to show that there's evidence that there's going to be some drugs found if the judge issues a search warrant and lets them search your home. The way they can do that is, they can surveil the home. They can watch.
If they see a bunch of drug transaction or drug-type activity going on, that would be a little piece of their puzzle. Then they can start pulling people over who are coming from the home.
If they find drugs on that person multiple times, they might have an argument that drugs are being sold from that home.
Maybe they can get an informant to do a transaction and the transaction takes place inside the home.
Maybe they can follow some drugs to the home. So, these are all ways they might be able to get a search warrant to get inside your home to be able to find drugs. If they find drugs, they can then use those drugs against you.
Motion to Suppress Evidence in California
Of course, what I do as a criminal defense attorney is, I will file a motion with the court to try and prevent whatever was found in the home, being used against you.
That's typically going to be drugs, and the way that we do that is, we file the motion. Of course, we have to have a good argument that the police illegally entered your home, violated your Fourth Amendment rights.
If the judge agrees with that then we ask the judge to suppress or get rid of anything that was found in the home because it was an illegal search.
So, we have to be able to prove and show through competent evidence that the police are basically on a fishing expedition. It was a hunch.
They really didn't have good solid evidence that there was going to be any drugs that were found there.
And they can't bootstrap, meaning they can't say, well we found the drugs so that means there must have been probable cause there was drugs there. No, that's not true.
Sometimes they get lucky and find drugs. It doesn't matter. They can't use that argument to justify the search of a home. You've got to actually do your work, do the surveillance, have the informant — whatever the information is.
So, I'm always looking to try to attack search warrants in drug cases because a lot of times the police cut corners and they really don't have the probable cause necessary to search somebody's home in a drug-related offense.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.