In many New York criminal cases, law enforcement officers need to search for evidence. The United States Constitution protects individuals from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” As such, in most cases, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before beginning their search. Despite these protections, the law provides police with significant discretionary power when investigating a criminal incident. Criminal defendants may successfully challenge a search if they can establish that police engaged in the search without a valid warrant or probable cause. However, exceptions to the search warrant rule apply in various situations, such as when the search or seizure is incident to a valid arrest.
For example, recently, the Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling denying a New York defendant’s motion to suppress. The case arose when law enforcement obtained a search warrant to search the defendant’s home. During the search, police recovered several items, including a handgun and ammunition. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that the warrant was invalid.
In New York, if an officer wants to obtain a search warrant, they must present the basis for the probable cause of their search to a judge. In most cases, a judge will issue a warrant if the probable cause exhibits a reasonable basis for believing that evidence from a crime is in the location they want to search. Officers must submit a sworn statement and describe the location with particularity. Judges typically consider the totality of the circumstances before issuing a search warrant.
In this case, the defendant asked the court to suppress the physical evidence seized because the warrant did not meet the particularity requirement. The defendant argues that the officers did not identify the individual unit in the multi-dwelling unit owned by the defendant’s mother. Further, he argued that when officers approached the dwelling, the defendant’s mother explained that each floor was a private dwelling. The prosecution maintained that the home was a single residence with a separate unit, and the warrant permitted a search of the entire address.
Here, the defendant argued that the officers should have known that the address was two separate units. However, he did not provide evidence suggesting that the building’s appearance indicated that it was not a single residence. The court found that the property had one address and one door, and the defendant did not present evidence regarding the inside of the building or inhabitants. Therefore, the court held that the warrant’s description met the particularity requirements, and the court did not err in denying the defendant’s motion for an evidentiary hearing.
Have You Been Subject to an Illegal Search in New York?
If you believe that you have been subject to an unlawful search, and later charged with a New York crime, contact the attorneys at Tilem & Associates. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience handling all types of criminal offenses, including those involving New York weapons crimes, assaults and batteries, allegations of child abuse and neglect, sex crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies. Our office has earned a reputation as an exceptional and trustworthy New York criminal defense firm that remains dedicated to our clients at every stage of the process. Contact our office at 877-377-8666 to schedule a free initial consultation.