When the authorities arrest someone in their home for drugs, the job of defense counsel is to thoroughly investigate the facts and the details of the police procedures. In some instances, there can be fallacies on the face of a search warrant that may be asserted. In New York when drug charges are made under these circumstances, It must also be confirmed that there was probable cause sufficient to obtain a search warrant.
The procedure to test the search warrant generally is to file a motion to suppress the evidence. The lower court will have to determine whether the facts alleged in the affidavit of probable cause are sufficient to support a probable cause finding by the reviewing magistrate. For example, the finding of probable cause must be made on more than conclusory statements and bare-bones allegations.
The issue came up in Sullivan County recently where police executed a search warrant on a home in Woodridge, and arrested two occupants found there. Police claim to have found four grams of “uncut” heroin, several prescription drugs, packages and a scale. When entering, police say there were several syringes strewn about the room and one of the occupants was about to shoot up.
Authorities assert that the uncut drugs were shipped from New York City to the address in Woodridge where it was packaged and sold. They arrested a 30-year-old man who resides at that address and a 20-year-old woman who was there at the time. Both were charged with possession with intent to sell and other drug charges. It’s clear that the defendants were users, and this may factor into a resolution of the charges and the case.
In a New York prosecution for drug charges, counsel must look at all of the potential evidence, file any appropriate motions, and discuss with the suspect the prospects of going to trial or entering a guilty plea. Of course, if successful on the motion to suppress, the prosecution will end. With respect to the woman arrested in this case, counsel will want to know whether she was only a fleeting purchaser or even an innocent bystander. She may have a defense to some of the charges if she is strictly a user and nothing else.
Source: midhudsonnews.com, “Two arrested in Woodridge for possessing pure, uncut heroin”, , March 31, 2014