It is important for all Tampa citizens to know what rights they are afforded under the law. For example, with some exceptions, the police are not permitted to search your property without a warrant or your consent. If you grant the police access to your property, however, it is possible that any evidence of a crime found during a search of the property could be used against you, even if you were not suspected of a crime prior to the search.
This was illustrated in a recent case decided by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in which the defendant’s conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm was upheld after he gave the police permission to search his garage. If you are a resident of Tampa currently charged with a weapons crime, you should meet with a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney to discuss your available defenses.
Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest and Conviction
Allegedly, the incident in question began when police officers arrived at a residence with a warrant, looking for a shooting suspect. The defendant, who was not the suspect at the time, suggested they check the garage. The police saw a gun on a table and seized and disarmed it. The officer also called the serial number into the police system to determine whether it was stolen. The defendant was standing nearby, unrestrained, during the investigation, and advised the officers he had been to prison. The defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. During his trial he filed a motion to suppress evidence of the firearm, arguing that it was obtained via an illegal search and seizure. The court denied the motion and the defendant was convicted. He subsequently appealed, arguing that the trial court wrongfully denied his motion and that his prior convictions did not qualify as violent felonies.