Evidence Obtained by Police Through a Search Warrant Can be Defeated
In many criminal and DUI investigations, police apply for a court order, commonly known as a search warrant, in order to obtain powerful evidence which will later be used by prosecutors to get a conviction. In Arizona, along with every other state, police routinely apply for and get warrants to search homes, vehicles, offices, computers and cell phones for the purpose of furthering investigations involving marijuana and drug related offenses, sex crimes and other violations of the law. Additionally, police often use search warrants to obtain blood samples from people under investigation for DUI and other vehicular crimes such as manslaughter or aggravated assault.
Before a search warrant is granted, police must present an affidavit to a judge or magistrate which shows that probable cause exists to permit a court ordered search. The probable cause requirement originates from the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states:
"the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."
Generally, warrants and searches conducted pursuant to a warrant are deemed valid. However, there are several ways to attack evidence seized by police pursuant to a warrant which could lead to the suppression of important information of charges being dismissed. A couple of the ways a warrant may be attacked includes an argument that a police search exceeded the scope authorized by the warrant or that the search was not conducted in a timely manner.
Another means by which evidence obtained by a warrant can be defeated is through a showing that police included false or misleading information in the affidavit provided to the judge or magistrate. In Franks v. Delaware, the United States Supreme Court stated that when an affidavit is found to have false or misleading information, it must be stricken. The information remaining in the affidavit must be examined to determine whether probable cause still exists. If probable cause doesn't exist after the false information is omitted, the warrant is invalid and any evidence obtained by police from the search must be suppressed. Consequently, an experienced criminal defense lawyer must closely examine an affidavit in cases where search warrants were obtained to determine the truthfulness of any information supplied by police. This applies to any type of criminal case or DUI prosecution.
If you have been charged with a crime or DUI in Arizona, contact my office at (480) 833-8613 for a free and immediate consultation. I have represented thousands of individuals during the last twenty years who have been charged with offenses ranging from DUI and drug offenses to aggravated assault and homicide. I have also conducted a number of jury trials in the city, justice and superior courts throughout Maricopa County.