How Search And Seizure Issues Impact Williamson County Firearm Charges
This is the next post in our series on the handling of firearm-related criminal charges in Williamson County, Texas. Our last post provided an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact an attorney should you find yourself facing such charges. In this article we will discuss how search and seizure issues impact the handling of such cases.
Gun related cases filed in Georgetown or Round Rock, Texas will often hinge on whether the police violated one’s rights
All United States residents have constitutional protections against unreasonable searches or seizure of property by law enforcement. It is possible to have evidence, which police collect in violation of these protections, excluded from Court. The exclusion of an illegally seized firearm, from a case involving firearm charges, will essentially end the matter; the prosecution will not be able to prove that one possessed a gun if they are prohibited from showing the gun to the jury or making any reference to it. It is for this reason that most gun or weapon charges hinge on establishing that the police violated one’s rights when they collected the evidence.
Most gun charges stem from a firearm being found in one’s car or on one’s person. Under the case of Terry v. Ohio, police may not stop a person without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Even if a person is lawfully stopped, Texas law enforcement will need additional suspicion or justifications to search a person. However, any weapons discovered due to their being in the officer’s “plain view” will likely be admissible in Court. An example of this would be if the officer lawfully stopped a car for speeding. Upon approaching the driver the officer observes a firearm sitting on the passenger seat. In this situation the officer’s discovery of the gun would not be unlawful as it was in his or her plain view when discovered. If the stop of the vehicle was unlawful, or if the officer searched further to find the weapon, then it may be possible to have the gun suppressed from evidence and excluded from Court proceedings. Our Georgetown criminal defense lawyers also service the surrounding communities of Austin, Bartlett, Cedar Park, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Taylor, Thrall, and Weir. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation if a weapon was discovered after you were searched by the police.
Williamson County defendants should not assume that they are without options in a gun-related case
Many Williamson County defendants make the mistake of thinking that they have no options after they are stopped by the police and a gun is found. Even if people feel their rights were violated, it is common for such people to feel that law enforcement’s conduct is “just the way things go.” The truth of the matter is that such is not the case. The U.S. Constitution protects the right to privacy for very good reasons and Courts take these protections seriously. If you or a loved one is facing such charges then contact an attorney immediately.