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Florida court allows warrant where CI had supplied incorrect information

Whenever an individual is suspected of committing a Florida drug crime, there will generally be a long investigation by law enforcement officers. In some situations, this will include the use of confidential informants (CI). These individuals will often be used to make drug purchases from the suspects, and police use the evidence from these transactions as the basis for securing warrants.

A recent decision by the Florida Court of Appeals has made it much easier for police investigating drug crimes. In this case, an informant told police that a person was selling drugs out of her home. The officers monitored the informant as two drug transactions took place.

The informant also told police that the individual had drugs in her vehicle, which was located near the residence. The officers later performed a traffic stop on the vehicle, and no drugs were found.

Officers then filled out an application to get a warrant to search the suspect's home. They included information about the two previous drug buys in the affidavit, but they did not mention the confidential informant's incorrect assertion regarding drugs in the vehicle, and they also failed to disclose the traffic stop. The warrant was approved, and drugs were found when the home was searched. The woman pleaded no contest, and later challenged the warrant that police had received.

The court declared that the information supplied in this case did support the warrant being issued. The decision stated that the informant had made several drug buys at the residence over the past six months, and that fact along with the two drug buys with police present could establish enough probable cause to issue the warrant. The suspect also was concerned about the 21-day lag time between the last drug buy and the application for the warrant, but the court reviewed the facts of the case and also found no issues of concern.

In addition to this decision, a recent U.S. Supreme Court case might make it even easier for law enforcement to perform warrantless searches of homes when investigating drug crimes. In that case, there were two individuals in a residence, and police believed that one of them had committed a crime. When they went to the door to request permission to search, the suspect refused to grant permission. After he was removed from the premises, the other occupant allowed the search. The court declared that this was appropriate because the person that had refused consent was no longer on the property, a major change from past cases.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Florida, you need to take these allegations seriously. Do not think that you will be able to discuss your case with police, because they are only looking to obtain more information to use against you. You should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the defenses that can be used in your case.

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