When Can Police Search My Home for Drugs in Fort Lauderdale?
Police in Florida are only allowed to search a citizen’s home under very specific circumstances. If these requirements are not met, then they are not permitted to enter the home or search for prohibited substances – such as drugs. Any subsequent criminal charges that result from unconstitutional searches may be dismissed as a result, and this is something that defendants may wish to discuss alongside criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale.
Police Must Have a Warrant to Search Your Home
Generally speaking, police must have a warrant to search your home. They may request to search your residence without a warrant, but you are under no obligation to comply. You are also fully within your rights to ask police if they have a warrant after they enter without permission. They may phrase this request in intentionally demanding terms. For example, they might say “We’re going to need to take a look inside.” However, this is not actually an order, but rather a carefully-worded request.
If Police Lack a Warrant, They Must Have Probable Cause
If police do not have a valid warrant, they must demonstrate probable cause in order to search your home. This means that there must be convincing evidence that a crime is currently taking place.
Unrelated Searches Can Lead to Drug Trafficking Charges
It is also worth mentioning that if police have probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place, they can search your home for drugs – even if the initial crime has nothing to do with drug trafficking. For example, police might suspect that domestic violence is taking place within the residence. If they can show that they had a legitimate reason to believe that this crime was occurring, they can enter your home and potentially carry out a completely unrelated search for drugs. While they might not be allowed to actively root through your cupboards for drugs, they might ask questions about anything they see lying out in the open during an emergency call.
The same is true in reverse. For example, police might carry out a search warrant for drug trafficking and subsequently collect evidence of other crimes. This occurred recently in Florida. On December 14th of 2023, it was reported that police had discovered evidence of a “theft ring” while searching a man’s home for drugs. Although they located cocaine, they also uncovered a number of stolen retail items, including power tools and liquor. As a result, the suspect faced charges for not only cocaine trafficking, but also organized theft.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Trafficking Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale?
If you have been searching for a qualified defense Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer, consider getting in touch with Haber Blank, LLP. Over the years, we have offered guidance to numerous defendants – including those facing drug trafficking charges. If you’re not sure whether to allow police into your home, reach out to us for advice at your earliest convenience before making any further decisions.