Missouri police agencies made two different types of drug arrests recently, which allows for an explanation of some of the differences between the two. In the first matter, Callaway County deputies along with the city of Fulton Police authorities reportedly executed a drug search warrant to search the residence of a 32-year-old man. Police allege that during the search they found a felony amount of marijuana. They arrested the man for felony possession of a controlled substance; criminal defense attorneys usually follow a pattern of investigation in such arrests.
Generally, counsel will start by examining the search warrant and the circumstances under which was issued. Various critical questions must be answered to established the validity of a search warrant and whether it was properly based upon probable cause. Counsel will also examine how the police executed the warrant and whether they exceeded any constitutional boundaries in that respect.
The second recent drug arrest, also made by sheriff’s deputies in Calloway County, involved a stop of a woman who was operating her vehicle in the Holts Summit area. The deputy allegedly stopped the 43-year-old woman for traffic violations. During the investigation, the police assert that they found drugs and arrested the woman for three felony counts of drug possession. This type of arrest also follows a certain general pattern of investigation.
Criminal defense counsel will first determine whether there was a reasonable suspicion to pull the vehicle over in the first place. The police must have some evidence of a crime or traffic violation being committed before they can pull a vehicle over. If the police get over that hurdle, they must then establish that there was probable cause to make the arrest itself. Missouri law is similar to other states generally in determining whether probable cause exists. If there was insufficient cause, the defense will file a motion to suppress the evidence or otherwise to dismiss the prosecution.