So, you got stopped by police officers and they found illegal drugs on you or in your car. At this point, many people would just give up, thinking that there is no chance to fight this case.
However, this is not always true. An experienced NYC criminal defense attorney will have the knowledge and skills to challenge defects in police conduct and procedure, and to have potentially harmful evidence ruled inadmissible.
New York has developed strict guidelines as to the ways in which police officers may obtain evidence. If the court rules that a police search was illegal, the evidence obtained through the search will not be admissible.
New York courts have set up a basic framework to determine the levels of intrusiveness of a police search, and under what circumstances a given level of intrusiveness is legal.. The first level of intrusion allows an officer to go up to a citizen and ask for information, if there is an objective, credible and articulable reason to do so. The second level allows a quick stop when there is a “founded suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.” The third level is reached when an officer is allowed to forcibly stop and detain a person if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or misdemeanor. Finally, an officer may make an arrest when there is probable cause to believe that an individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
For example, a NYC police officer who arrives at the scene of a minor car accident has a reasonable basis for asking to see the parties’ driver’s licenses. However, without specific indications of criminal activity, the police officer may not search the person or car of the defendant; in one case, the court disallowed evidence of illegal drugs that was obtained because the drugs fell out when the defendant took his hands out of his pocket at the police officer’s command. Since there was no reasonable indication that criminal conduct had occurred, the police officer did not have a basis for asking the defendant to remove his hands from his pockets.
The above example illustrated why it is so important to know your rights when dealing with the NYPD as well as with New York City prosecutors. By engaging a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in all the nuances of criminal procedure as well as substantive law, you will be taking the most effective step in safeguarding your rights and obtaining the best possible disposition in your case.
Call our experienced NYC criminal defense attorneys at (212) 227-0860 for an immediate consultation.