Criminal defense lawyer David Pflaum is an aggressive trial attorney with over 25 years of experience who knows when and how to challenge an unlawful detention by police, a search without a warrant, and a violation of the right to remain silent.
HOW THE DEFENSE LAWYER HELPS HIS CLIENT
When it appears that the police may have violated a persons constitutional rights, attorney Pflaum challenges the wrongful police activity by filing a petition in court to have the evidence eliminated by a judge.
After the petition is file, the arresting officers must come to court to testify and justify their actions to a Superior Court judge.
The defense attorney has an opportunity to cross examine the police officers, and to present testimony from his client and witnesses for the defense, in order to convince the judge that the police did not act properly.
If the judge agrees that the police acted unlawfully, the judge eliminates or “suppresses” the evidence, and the case usually gets dismissed.
See the results menu for examples of successful challenges to unlawful police actions.
EXAMPLES OF UNLAWFUL ACTIONS BY THE POLICE
Some examples of constitutional violations of rights might occur when police do any of the following.
- Stop a car for no valid reason
- Search personal property without permission
- Check someone’s pockets without justification
- Go into someone’s home without a warrant
- Order somebody to do something without a valid reason
- Fail to advise a person of the right to remain silent
- Arrest someone without probable cause
SUPPRESSION MOTIONS TO CHALLENGE UNLAWFUL POLICE ACTIONS
The law gives people the right to file a petition in court called a “suppression motion” to convince a judge that their constitutional rights were violated.
Attorney Pflaum prepares the petition and prepares the client for his or her testimony. The attorney may also subpoena witnesses to the hearing, and may rely on video of the incident to aid in the proof of the violation of rights during the suppression motion.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects persons from unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be supported by probable cause and judicially approved.
California Penal Code section 1538.5 states that a defendant may move for the return of property or to suppress as evidence any tangible or intangible thing obtained as a result of a search or seizure because the search or seizure without a warrant was unreasonable.
This means that when the police stop a person on the street, turn on the siren of their patrol car and detain a driver, enter someone’s apartment or home, seize your possessions, or search you, they must have a legal justification or warrant to do so.
THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
Right to Remain Silent. Sometimes the police interrogate a person by force or without advising the defendant of the the right to remain silent.
This is commonly referred to as “Miranda rights” and requires the police to advice the accused that he or she has the right to remain silent, not to speak to the police, and to have an attorney present during questioning.
This is because in the famous case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966), our United States Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, required that a person in custody and being interrogated had the right to be informed of these rights before questioning.
If the police failed to advise a client of his or her rights, the judge may eliminate any statements or admissions that were made, which in turn may result in a dismissal of the case or a reduction of the charges.
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