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Police Car Searches in Drug Cases

Crystal-Meth-150x150Hernandez Falcon was arrested by Palm Beach County deputies for possessing a synthetic drug Methamphetamine and drug equipment. The arrest came as a response to a car crash at the 6000 block of Forest Hill Boulevard according to affidavit. Hernandez Falcon was found passed out in the passenger car seat and without pants. Mr. Falcon didn’t respond to deputy questions.

When a car search was performed, deputies discovered a pair of blue shorts, a digital scale disguised as a digital camera, a glass pipe, and a camouflage-colored grinder in the shape of a grenade. Also found in the car’s center console wass a baggie containing methamphetamine. Hernandez Falcon, 27, is facing three counts of possession of drug equipment and one count of possessing a synthetic drug. The story was reported in Palm Beach Post.


Schedule II Drug-Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (commonly know as Meth) is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused.

Methamphetamine charges primarily serve as an identification of illegal activity and events within which a suspect participated concerning the illegal substance Methamphetamine. The severity of Methamphetamine charges vary in accordance the degree of severity of the criminal activity undertaken.

Florida Criminal Meth Statutes

§ 893.03(2)(c)4 (Controlled Substance).

Places Methamphetamine in Schedule II of controlled substances, stating that it has a “high potential for abuse” with “accepted but severely restricted medical use,” and that abuse may lead to dependence.

§ 893.13(6)(a) (Requires Prescription).

Possession of a controlled substance such as methamphetamine without a valid prescription, except by a physician or pharmacist, is a 3rd degree felony.

§ 893.149 (Criminal Possession).

It is a 2nd degree felony to possess a listed precursor or essential chemical with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance such as methamphetamine, or to possess or distribute such a chemical if you know or should know that the chemical will be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance.

Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment creates a constitutional buffer between U.S. citizens and the power of law enforcement, which sometimes can be forceful and intimidating. The Fourth Amendment is based on 3 main components.

1.      It establishes a privacy interest by recognizing the right of U.S. citizens to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”

2.      It protects this privacy interest by prohibiting searches and seizures that are “unreasonable” or are not authorized by a warrant based upon probable cause.

3.      It states that no warrant may be issued to a law enforcement officer unless that warrant describes with particularity “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

When Car Search Is Allowed

In 2009, the Supreme Court provided a clarification on how the rights of law enforcement officers can be exercised during a car search. The car search performed depends on the reason the suspect’s car was pulled over. The allowed 3 types of cars searches are:

1.      a “search incident to arrest,” which allows a search of the immediate vicinity of the driver (in other words, where he can reach inside the car) when the police have grounds to place the driver under arrest

2.      an inventory search, which is allowed when the police arrest a driver and impound the car (to list the items in the car in order to avoid civil liability for the loss or damage of the car owner’s property), and

3.      a probable cause search, which is allowed where the police have a reasonable suspicion that a weapon or evidence of the crime for which they stopped the driver may be found (this search would include a pat-down of the driver for weapons or contraband).


West Palm Beach Drug Defense Attorney

The penalties that come with a drug crime conviction in Florida have the potential to affect you for the rest of your life. If you have been arrested on a drug charge in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, or Wellington, immediately take the first important step in your defense and call Andrew D. Stine, P.A..

With over 10 years of criminal defense experience, skilled and knowledgeable Palm Beach County drug charge defense lawyer Andrew Stine is a former public defender and army medic. These life experiences give him both an in-depth knowledge of the Florida criminal system and a militant, detailed approach to building strong, customized defenses for clients like you. For more information about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your West Palm Beach or Boca Raton area drug crime case, call 561.880.4300today and schedule your free initial case consultation.

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