The United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision in the case Utah v. Strieff that will have a big impact on the suppression of evidence found on a suspect following an illegal stop. In the Strieff case, the defendant was stopped by a police officer after leaving a house where the officer suspected drug activity was occurring. The officer then learned that the defendant had an outstanding warrant, placed the defendant under arrest and searched him. Drugs were found on the defendant. The drug evidence was suppressed by the Utah Supreme Court because the initial stop of the defendant was done without reasonable suspicion that he was involved in criminal activity. The lower court held that the illegal stop poisoned any subsequent search. However, the United States Supreme Court decided that even if the police officer had stopped the suspect without having reasonable suspicion to do so, because there was a valid arrest warrant for the defendant and no flagrant police misconduct, the search and seizure of the drugs was legal. Therefore, they overturned the ruling that the drug evidence must be suppressed.
Why does this case matter? Well, it eliminates the consequences for the police not following the rules in certain situations. Absent any police misconduct, a person with an outstanding warrant will have a difficult time suppressing evidence which was seized from them following an illegal search. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have a defense in your case. If you’ve been charged with a crime following a search and seizure in Reading, PA, contact our experienced Berks County criminal defense attorneys so that we can analyze the stop and search and determine the best actions for you to take. Call us today at 610-372-5128 or email us at [email protected]