WILL YOUR STATEMENTS BE SUPPRESSED? (PART 2)
USE OF INCRIMINATING STATEMENTS IN CRIMINAL DRUG CASES IN PHILADELPHIA
In criminal drug cases in Philadelphia, an arrested individual’s statements will often be used to prove possession in a Possession of a Controlled Substance case or Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver case. Therefore, most individuals arrested for drug charges want to know whether their statements can be thrown out or suppressed. The answer depends on the facts and circumstances of each case because no two criminal cases are alike.
POST-ARREST STATEMENTS MADE BEFORE MIRANDA
In some situations, an individual may be arrested or not arrested, but otherwise placed into custody. For instance, an individual may be held in a police car or other holding cell before being placed under arrest. If an individual is arrested or placed into custody and interrogated without having been given Miranda warnings, the statements will likely be suppressed. In other words, they are thrown out of the case. In drug possession prosecutions, suppression of such statements can harm the prosecutor’s case, thus making it more likely that a “not guilty” verdict will be reached in a subsequent court or jury trial. However, statements made voluntarily, without being asked questions (interrogation) by an officer, are unlikely to be suppressed later.
Using the example discussed in part A, a Philadelphia police officer allegedly witnesses what he believes is behavior indicating a hand-to-hand drug transaction is about to occur. The officer confronts the individuals and asks what they are doing. The individual holding the money takes off running after the other one blurts out, “It’s just weed.” The police officer handcuffs the suspected drug dealer and places him in the back of his patrol car. He radios to the precinct.
At this point, the individual in the back of the patrol car has been placed in police custody. The officer says, “Just weed. Is that all?” without giving any Miranda warnings. The individual then admits that he did not have weed, but instead had 10 small bags of crack in his backpack. He is later arrested for Possession with Intent to Deliver for the crack cocaine in his backpack.
Because the statement admitting to possessing crack cocaine was made while in custody and before Miranda warnings, the statement would likely be suppressed. In addition, evidence obtained as a result of the suppressed statements may also be suppressed. However, depending on the facts of the case, a criminal case can still proceed.
POST-ARREST STATEMENTS MADE AFTER MIRANDA
In general, statements made after arrest and after Miranda warnings were given are usually difficult to suppress. In some cases, the police may continue interrogation tactics even after an individual requests to speak to an attorney. If this occurs, statements may be suppressed. Also, statements made voluntarily, after arrest and after Miranda, will not usually be suppressed. Again, it is important to note that in any criminal case, whether a statement can be used against the arrested individual depends on the facts of the case.
PHILADELPHIA CRIMINAL LAWYER HANDLING DRUG CHARGES FREE CONSULTATIONS
If you or a loved one was arrested for a drug related charge in the Philadelphia area, including Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks County or in federal court, please call our criminal lawyers for a free consultation. (215) 515-0042
David S. Nenner is an experienced criminal lawyer who has handled many drug cases in both Pennsylvania state and federal court. He offers a free phone consultation for all drug and gun cases.
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