This is the second post in our series discussing the handing of drug trafficking charges in Arkansas. Our last post served as an overview of subjects we will be addressing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if one finds themselves facing such charges. Contacting counsel is crucial as prosecutors pursue trafficking charges much more seriously than they do cases involving drug possession. In this post we will address a topic which commonly arise in cases involving trafficking charges – search and seizure issues which stem from police surveillance.
Trafficking arrests often occur as the result of law enforcement conducting surveillance of a suspect. Many defendants mistakenly believe that being watched automatically violates their right to privacy. This is not the case. Police may observe any conduct of the defendant which occurs within their “plain view.” In layperson terms this means that if one does something and police, from a place where they have lawful permission to be, observe it then the police may arrest the suspect. An example of this would be if one conducted a drug transaction inside his car and the officers observed the transaction through the vehicle’s windows. In trafficking cases, officers may have actually set up a surveillance station from which they will watch the suspect.
Search and seizure issues arise from plain view searches when the police manipulate their environment in order to improve their viewpoint. An example of this would be an officer who attempts to see through a fence and, to improve their view, they bend away a portion of the fence. Under such a circumstance then the evidence would likely be suppressed as the evidence was not in the officer’s plain view before they manipulated property in order to enhance their view.
If you find yourself charged with drug trafficking then it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Our attorneys also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas. Contact us today.