I need to know what my Rights are for the following situation regarding - a Federal Search & Seizer Warrant in my home : (The search warrant was specificly for my nieces bedroom and my bedroom)
My Question to you is :
Can the police charge me with the 2 scales & the Residue baggy of Meth they found in my bedroom? I was not their when they searched my home or room, & I don’t know who or how those items had gotten in my room while I was away.
This is what happened :
A Federal Search Warrant was issued & made to my home. I was not present at the time of the search. I had left 3 days prior to the search. I had gone out of town visiting family. My Cousin had been arrested the night before for possession of drugs in her vehicle when she was pulled over by the police. She had gone to jail that night. While in questioning at the police dept, she had told them that I was selling drugs out of my home and that I had drugs in an empty can of WD-40. Which was/is untrue . She told the police, that my niece & her boyfriend were also selling & using Cocaine/Herroin out of our home. She was released the next day. An hour or less after she got out of jail, the police had gone to my house with a federal search warrant.
The search warrant was issued to specifically search my bedroom & my niece’s bedroom.
From what I was told by my Niece, the police had entered our home, & the 1st room they searched was my room. The 1st thing they were looking for, was the an empty can of WD-40 with drugs in it, my cousin said I had. After searching my room, the police told my sister and niece that they had found the following items :
* 2 - Scales
* A couple of baggies with Meth Residue inside of it. (They said it should be enough to arrest & charge me with)
* They confiscated - 2 cell phones. (In which were mine) &
* They never did find a can of WD-40 with drugs in it. (Like my cousin told them I had)
The police told my sister & my niece: That the baggies, they found, with Meth Residue in them, is or would probably be enough to arrest and charge me with.
Next, They searched my niece’s and her boyfriends bedroom: After searching their room, the police had found a bong & other drug related items in my nieces bedroom. They had asked her & her boyfriend if the bong they found in their room belong to her aunt,(me), & both of them told them no it’s not my aunts & then her boyfriend had told them that it belong tohim.
The police ask him if he was for sure that it wasn’t their aunts bong, & her boyfriend, again told them no that it was his bong. He also told them and admitted to the police that everything they found in their bedroom was all his and not mine or my nieces. He was taken to jail & was arrested & booked for all items found in their bedroom.
*PLEASE KEEP IN MIND :
I live with my - Younger Sister (age 50), her Daughter (age 21), & her Boyfriend (age 21).
Everyone who lives in the home has access - to all bedrooms at all times.
We all have our own bedrooms & - all have access to them. No one ever locks - their bedroom doors. And anyone else - that visits would also be able to enter anyone’s room at anytime if not watched by whomever they are visiting.
The day I had left, which was, 3 days prior - to this Search Warrant, my bedroom was cleaned, & my door was left opened & unlocked. And as to my Knowledge - when I left that day, my room was cleand & my door was left opened. The only items that belonged to me - were the 2 cell phones.
I Never had any drug related items (Baggies…etc..) or scales in my room when I left.
Federal Crime Lawyer
The validity of the search warrant depends upon whether the US magistrate issued the warrant based on testimony that established sufficient probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found in the place to be searched. It appears that your cousin (and possibly other individuals) provided certain information about you that resulted in the warrant’s being issued.
Therefore, your attorney must examine the affidavit in support of the search warrant, which will describe in detail the information upon which the law enforcement agents relied to seek the warrant and upon which the US magistrate relied to issue the warrant. The validity of the warrant may be challenged in several ways, depending upon the specific information. If the warrant is invalid, the evidence seized, with limited exception, will be “suppressed,” or excluded from trial. If the warrant is valid, the evidence will be admitted at trial; however, the Government must still prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you knowingly possessed a controlled substance. If you were not at the residence for the three day period prior to the warrant’s being executed, and you live with three others that had access to your room during that time, it will be difficult for the Government to prove that you placed the contraband in that location.
Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
1 found this helpful
1 lawyer agrees
Federal Crime Lawyer
From what you describe, the police developed information that you had drugs in your room. Based on that information (which you contest), the police got a search warrant and found evidence of drugs in your room. The police seized drug paraphernalia and residue not specifically itemized in the warrant. The information the police had received was probably enough to justify the warrant. If so, the police had a right to conduct the search. In addition, they had the right to seize evidence they found in the course of the search even if not particularly named in the warrant. Could you be charged with the evidence they seized (together with the witness who claims you sell)? Absolutely. Your dispute seems to be not with the warrant but whether there is enough evidence to convict you since others could have put the drugs in your room. In order to be arrested and charged, the authorities only need probable cause to believe you committed a crime. Whether they have enough evidence to convict you is a question for the jury. The fact that you can come up with other explanations for why there would be drugs in your room without your knowledge does not mean they do not have a basis to arrest you. The feds will now use the evidence seized to try to build a stronger case against you--more witnesses, contacts from your phones, fingerprints on the baggies, etc. The police do not have to eliminate every possible way you could have drugs in your room before arresting you. You need to retain counsel right away and you should not make any statements to the authorities without your attorney.
This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The answer to the specific question you ask is "yes, you can be charged." Law enforcement came to the home with a search warrant and searched the rooms listed in the warrant, finding evidence of criminal activity - that is enough to support charges being filed.
Your larger question appears to be "will I be convicted based on what was found in my room?" and that is more difficult to answer. With a home shared by more than one person, with all rooms being able to be accessed by all those living in the home, it may be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what was found in your room was in fact yours. It may be that there are arguments against the validity of the search warrant.
You need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If charged in federal court (and I have some doubts as to whether this will go forward in federal court, given how little evidence of drug crime was recovered), you will be assigned a federal public defender. It is a good idea to call the office of the federal defender that covers your part of WA - they will have someone answering the phones who can give you some assistance.