Late last month in Leelanau County, two people were arrested for their alleged involvement in a meth lab. According to a report by MLive.com, upon searching the home, police found chemicals and equipment that can be used to make meth.
Police also searched another home in relation to the drug ring. In the Centerville Township home, they found more supplies that they believe were used to make meth. In addition, officers found a large supply of marijuana.
Although it is not clear how the officers obtained the legal right to search the home, it is likely that there was a warrant issued permitting them to do so. Absent a warrant, there would have to be some kind of exigent circumstance that justified the officers’ intrusion of the defendants’ privacy.
The Warrant Requirement The United States Constitution as well as the Michigan State Constitution require that citizens remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This prevents police officers from knocking down doors in a neighborhood where they suspect criminal activity. Instead, officers must present facts to a neutral magistrate, who will then issue a warrant if he or she determines that there is probable cause.
In some cases, officers do not need a warrant to search a home. Examples are if there is a public safety threat, or if the officers are in hot pursuit. In these cases, the law allows for relaxation of the warrant requirement given the “exigent circumstances.”
In many drug cases, much of the action is focused around suppression of the physical evidence (the drugs). Therefore, litigating Fourth Amendment search and seizure law is critical to the success of a drug case. If a defendant can show that there was no warrant when there should have been, or that the warrant was defective in some way, the physical evidence that was found by the execution of that warrant must be suppressed.
Situations Where a Warrant May Not Be Required The above discussion assumes that the police were attempting to search a person’s home. However, different laws apply to different areas. For example, the warrant requirement is relaxed when it comes to automobiles, but not to hotel rooms. The nuances of the law make it difficult for a pro se defendant to effectively argue for his own acquittal. Therefore, it is advised to retain an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a Michigan drug offense.
If you have recently been arrested for a drug offense in the State of Michigan, you should consider retaining an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As someone who is accused of a serious crime, you are provided certain rights. However, those rights can be waived or forfeited if they are not acted upon in a timely manner. To speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney today, click here or call (240) 930-5019</> to schedule a free initial consultation.