A recent Jacksonville news article stuck my attention from the lack of details and the questions the article bring to my mind. As a San Marco Criminal Defense Attorney, I review arrest reports and news articles relating to Jacksonville Criminal law and analyze them as if they were my potential clients. This is just the case regarding the arrest and booking of George Walters, 21.
In this incident, police pulled over Walters for what is stated as a “felony traffic” stop on Monday. Then article then states the Officers searched his vehicle following his arrest. It was during this subsequent search that police were able to locate two bags of cocaine, money, and a semi-automatic pistol. Walters was then taken to Duval County Jail on charges of armed trafficking in cocaine and possession. Both Jacksonville charges are felonies and carry very heavy penalties.
Analyzing this case, given the limited facts, as if a Walters was a potential client I would have several issues with the Police procedure and whether or not they had valid Probable Cause to search the vehicle following Walters arrest. First, a search incident to arrest of the vehicle is no longer applicable following a recent Supreme Court Decision. The new law under Gates, only permits the search of the vehicle follow an arrest if the suspect can still gain access to the interior of the vehicle or the police believe there is evidence of the offense the suspect was pulled over for inside the vehicle. For example, if pulled over for speeding and arrested for no valid license, the police would not have the ability to search the vehicle if you were already in handcuffs. Also, the police could not search the vehicle on the premise to prevent the destruction of other evidence of the offense (because there is not any). Just a reminder to San Marco Criminal Defendants, if you give the police consent this negates all the defenses to an invalid search and seizure.
These are just my initial thoughts regarding this particular incident. Every case is different, so is my approach in providing zealous representation to my clients. Therefore, if you are facing a Jacksonville Criminal Offense, contact a San Marco Criminal Defense Lawyer today. It could just prove to be invaluable to your case.