The United States and Michigan Constitutions grant people certain privacy rights. This means, among other things, that they are protected from unreasonable searches. In other words, the police generally cannot search someone unless they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is engaging in criminal activity. If they conduct a search without just cause, it may be deemed unlawful, and if the search results in criminal charges, the prosecution may be barred from using any evidence obtained via the search at trial. Recently, a Michigan court discussed what a defendant arguing a search was unlawful must prove in a case in which the defendant, who was charged with being a felon in unlawful possession of a weapon, moved to suppress evidence. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is smart to speak to a Michigan gun crime defense attorney about your rights.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the defendant drove his minivan to the parking lot of a liquor store and parked it there for several minutes. Surveillance footage showed the defendant talking to numerous people while he sat in the van. No one was seen entering the van, but at one point, a man exited the rear of the van and robbed someone. The defendant, who was outside of the van at the time, observed the robbery, got back into his van and drove away.
Allegedly, footage from a green light a few blocks away showed a person that appeared to be the robber getting back into the van. The day after the incident, the police saw the defendant walking down the street. They approached him and asked him about the incident, and he admitted the robber was in his van. He walked to his van with the police and gave them his key. They then searched his van and found a gun. The defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. He moved to suppress the evidence found during the search, arguing that the search was unlawful and violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
Unlawful Searches and Seizures
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees people the right to be free from unreasonable searches, to safeguard their security and privacy. While the Constitution does not prohibit all searches and seizures, it does bar those that are unreasonable. Over many years, the United States Supreme Court has developed the exclusionary rule, which prohibits the use of improperly obtained evidence at trial.
In the subject case, the court found that the police had ample cause to arrest the defendant, and therefore, that the search was not unlawful and the evidence obtained during the search could be used at trial. Therefore it denied the defendant’s motion.
Meet with a Knowledgeable Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
While people convicted of felonies are often barred from owning weapons, if they are charged with gun crimes following illegal searches, they may be able to argue the charges should be dismissed, and they should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a knowledgeable Michigan criminal defense lawyer, and if you are charged with a weapons offense, he can gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result. You can contact Mr. Bernstein via the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a consultation.