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Exceeding the scope: drug evidence tossed in warrantless search

Police say that a Houston motorist executed a flawed driving maneuver, so they stopped him. Based upon that, they handcuffed him and conducted an exhaustive search of his car. That turned up a small amount of cocaine. The driver was promptly arrested and ultimately pleaded guilty to drug possession.

Done deal?

Not hardly, as it turns out, according to justices from a state appellate court in the wake of their close scrutiny of the material facts relevant to the above case.

For starters, and as noted in a recent media summary of the matter and its judicial outcome, the driver was stopped "merely because he was a bit late flipping on his turn signal."

And what followed flagrantly violated constitutional protections, the court noted. The police officers who carried out the stop had been conducting a stakeout at a bar allegedly tied with drug trafficking. The media report states that they "wasted no time" extracting the driver from his car and handcuffing him. They then carried out the aforementioned exhaustive search and found the drugs.

The appellate judges had a notably strong reaction to that behavior, finding the quick and escalating pattern of events to be highly questionable and ultimately unlawful. Arresting the driver for a minor traffic violation went too far, the court stated, as did his handcuffing. And thereafter conducting a warrantless search for drugs was an act that violated the Fourth Amendment bar against unreasonable searches and seizures. The tribunal ordered a new trial, with the incriminating evidence thrown out.

Such cases are more common than some readers perhaps think. A proven criminal law attorney well knows that. We note on our website at the proven criminal defense firm of Sergi & Associates in San Marcos that it is imperative for legal counsel "to challenge every part of the police evidence" in every case.

That is certainly what we do. We welcome contacts to the firm to discuss our aggressive and passionate client representation in every criminal defense matter we undertake.

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329 South Guadalupe Street
San Marcos, TX 78666

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