Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a New York gun possession case involving the denial of the defendant’s pre-trial motion to suppress. Motions to suppress are often the most critical stage of a trial in cases involving guns or drugs, especially where the contraband item is found on the defendant. In this case, the court ultimately upheld the denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that the defendant gave the officers consent to search his car.
Consent is one of the few major exceptions to the warrant requirement. Generally, law enforcement needs a warrant to conduct a search of a person or their belongings. To obtain a warrant, an officer must establish that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, and the search would turn up evidence of that crime. However, if a suspect consents to a search, that eliminates the need for an officer to obtain a warrant. To be valid, consent must be voluntary, and cannot be forced or coerced. Courts look to the surrounding circumstances to determine the validity of a suspect’s consent.
According to the court’s opinion, police received a 911 call stating that a man was banging on a hotel door with a gun. Police arrived and began to speak with the defendant outside the hotel room. He was not handcuffed at the time.
When the arresting officer arrived a few moments later, he went into the hotel room to speak with the callers, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. They told the officer that the defendant was known to carry a gun. The officer exited the hotel room and asked the defendant for permission to search his car. The defendant agreed, and the officer found a shoe box containing a gun inside the car.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress the gun, arguing that there was no evidence suggesting that there was any “criminal activity afoot” when the officer asked the defendant for permission to search. However, the court disagreed, finding that the defendant voluntarily gave his consent to search the car, and nothing in the evidence indicated that his consent was coerced. The court went on to note that the officer’s failure to explain that the defendant had a right to refuse the search does not make the defendant’s consent invalid.
Have You Been Arrested after Giving Consent to an Officer?
If you have recently been arrested after giving a police officer consent to search, contact the dedicated New York criminal defense attorneys at Tilem & Associates. At Tilem & Associates, we understand the reality that people give consent often do so because they feel like they have no other choice. Our team of skilled New York gun possession lawyers is skilled at preparing and litigating all types of motions to suppress to prevent the prosecution from using evidence that was obtained through illegal means. To learn more about how we can help you defend against the charges you face, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 877-377-8666 to schedule a free consultation today.