In order to make an arrest, law enforcement officials must first establish that they have probable cause to detain an individual. When reviewing the circumstances surrounding an arrest, a person's criminal defense counsel will first determine whether probable cause existed. This could be an important part of one man's case since he now faces California drug charges that stem from an investigation into a theft at a retail store.
According to reports, police were investigating a theft at a Kmart when the 29-year-old man was detained. When police ran his name through the system, it was discovered that a misdemeanor arrest warrant had been issued against him. He allegedly failed to appear in court regarding an arrest for drug paraphernalia.
Officers then took him into custody and searched his vehicle, using a K-9 unit. Police claim to have found a substance in his vehicle believed to be an illegal narcotic. Supposedly, the substance was at least preliminarily identified as 23 grams of methamphetamine.
Regardless of the nature of any criminal charges, everyone is guaranteed the right to be presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. If it turns out that police officers failed to follow proper procedure at any point during an arrest and/or investigation, any evidence gathered as a result could be ruled inadmissible in court.
California drug charges can come with potentially serious penalties, but only if a conviction is actually secured. This man is entitled to have criminal defense counsel. His counsel will review the circumstances surrounding his detainment during the theft investigation, his arrest on the alleged outstanding warrant and the subsequent search of his vehicle. If law enforcement officials failed to follow proper procedures and/or did not have sufficient probable cause to detain him in the first place, the charges against him may be subject to dismissal.
Source: Petaluma, CA Patch, "Theft Investigation Leads To Drug Arrest In Petaluma", Susan C. Schena, June 14, 2015