Houman Fakhimi

Police Must Abide by the Law by Getting Warrants for Fullerton Drug Cases, Boykins v. State Says

A recent case out of Georgia highlights the responsibility police have to uphold suspects' rights, even when detectives are in the midst of pursuing a drug investigation.

Drug cases in Fullerton and elsewhere in Southern California can lead to serious criminal penalties, which can escalate depending on the amount of drug alleged, whether it is being purchase, sold or manufactured and where it is being sold.

An experienced Newport Beach criminal defense lawyer will be prepared to defend a client facing drug charges or any related charges they may encounter, such as gun possession, which is a common partner charge that police lay out to defendants.

One common issue in drug cases is that police tend to be overzealous when pursuing these criminals. The "War on Drugs" has spanned decades and yet drugs are still in high demand. Therefore, law enforcement tend to get excited when they have a lead and sometimes they pursue it without following the law.

That excitement can turn into a violation of rights quickly if they don't respect the rules of search warrants. The Fourth Amendment gives everyone in the United States a right not to be unlawfully searched. This means police can't simply break into your house and start searching your property without justification.

A search warrant must be signed by a judge after police present enough evidence to convince the judge to let them break into a person's house, vehicle or business and search for clues. If they break in without a warrant, it can lead to evidence being suppressed, which means it won't be used at trial.

In some situations, police can use a "warrantless entry," meaning they can break in if they have reason to believe there is illegal activity going on inside. In the case of Kentucky v. King earlier this year, police broke into the wrong apartment after following a person involved in a drug deal.

In Boykins v. State, a Georgia case, a man pulled up to a woman standing on the street of a "high crime" area. When an officer spotted this, he turned around and followed the man to an apartment complex, where he pulled into a parking space. Suspecting prostitution, the officer pulled up to the man's parked car and asked for identification. The man said it was in his apartment, but gave him his name and birthday, which showed he had a warrant out for his arrest.

After handcuffing him and giving him to another officer, the initial officer searched his car and found cocaine. He was charged with possession of cocaine and sentenced to four years in prison. He appealed the ruling of his motion to suppress being denied.

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed the conviction, ruling that the state failed to show that it was a "dangerous" or "rare" situation that required a warrantless search.

Contact the Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages are critical in defending against criminal charges.