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Felony Drug Possession Case Dismissed

Client was charged with one felony count of possession of hydrocodone and one felony count of oxycodone. The arrest occurred after a police officer pulled over a vehicle in which our client was a passenger. The officer requested that both the driver and client exit the vehicle and began questioning both of them while they were standing outside the vehicle. Neither the driver or the client were placed under arrest at that time. The diver stated he wasn’t sure if there was any illegal contraband in the vehicle and gave the officer consent to search. The officer proceeded to search the vehicle and allegedly found oxycodone and hydrocodone near the passenger seat.

Importance of Miranda Rights

The officer returned from the vehicle and placed the client under arrest claiming that because the drugs were found near where he was seated, they must be his. Without reading the client his Miranda rights, the officer proceeded to ask the client direct questions about the narcotics he allegedly found. While in custody, the client responded to the questioning by admitting that he took the pills to help him sleep.

The question in this case was whether the statement from the client was admissible. We argued that it would not be admissible because once the officer placed the client under arrest, he was required to read him his Miranda Rights. Because he didn’t, the alleged admission was fruit of the poisonous tree and not admissible. Had the officer read him his rights prior to questioning him, the statement would have been admissible. Because he did not, the prosecution could not prove the narcotics belonged to the client and both felony charges were dismissed.

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Categories: Criminal Defense

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