Defendant in Drug Case Argues that Warrant Contained Material Representations Before Arizona Court of Appeals

In a recent court of appeals case in Arizona, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction and sentence related to possession of dangerous drugs for sale. When the defendant was originally charged, he filed a motion to suppress incriminating evidence on the grounds that the detective’s search warrant that led to his arrest was legally insufficient. The court denied the request, the trial went forward, and a jury found the defendant guilty. The defendant appealed, arguing the court wrongly denied his motion to suppress.

The higher court agreed that the defendant’s argument should have been given more consideration, and it sent the case back down to the lower court. The trial court then held a hearing and denied the defendant’s motion to suppress for a second time. Again, the defendant appealed the lower court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

The main officer involved in this case received an anonymous tip that the defendant was selling drugs from his home, and the officer began to investigate. After some initial investigations, the officer requested a search warrant from the court, which would allow him to go into the defendant’s home without the defendant’s permission. The court issued the search warrant, and the officer went to the defendant’s house and found evidence of drug operations happening inside. The defendant was quickly arrested for possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

The Opinion

The main point of contention in the case quickly became whether the officer’s warrant was sufficient under the law. According to the defendant, the request for a warrant inaccurately described that he was married and omitted the address listed on his driver’s license. These inaccuracies made the warrant based on false statements, and since the original warrant was invalid, the subsequent arrest was also invalid.
The court agreed that there were, indeed, at least two inaccuracies on the warrant. However, the court also found that the officer believed “in good faith” that the warrant was accurate, as well as that the inaccuracies did not have any substantial effect on the defendant’s case. Because the officer genuinely believed the warrant was correct, there was not enough evidence to find that the warrant was invalid. The lower court’s denial of the motion to suppress was therefore affirmed.

Are You in Need of a Criminal Defense Attorney in Arizona?

If you or a loved one is facing Arizona drug charges, call us at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We fight relentlessly for criminal defendants to make sure they have access to the highest quality representation possible, because we know how daunting it can feel to fight to make sure your rights are well protected. For a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team, call us today at 480-413-1499. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about your case, and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

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