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Can you still go to jail if cop gets law wrong? Scotus to Decide

On behalf of Kenneth Krebs of Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

An interesting case is headed to the Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, this fall. The case, out of North Carolina, involves a cop that made a stop based on a law that didn't exist. The cop argues his stop was "reasonable," and that the resulting arrest should stand. Criminal justice advocates argue that cops should be held to a higher standard.

The case began when the officer pulled over a car because it had a faulty brake light. The enforcement officer was under the belief that it was illegal to drive a vehicle in the state with a broken brake light. In reality, the law allows for one broken brake light as long as the other works. As a result, the driver operating the vehicle was following the law and the officer had no basis for the stop. During the stop, the officer requested permission to search the vehicle. The driver and passenger agreed, and the officer found illegal drugs in the car. This evidence led to various criminal charges.

Officers are required to have a reason to make a stop. Without a valid reason, the stop is invalid and any resulting evidence is generally not allowed in court. As a result, the driver argues that the evidence, or illegal drugs, found during the search should not be admissible since there was no legal reason for the officer to stop him in the first place.

The case is being heard by SCOTUS this fall and highlights the basic protections granted under the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures. It also represents an example of the importance of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney if charged with a crime. This legal professional will review the basis for the charges and make sure all laws were followed. If your rights were violated, the charges could be dismissed.

Source: The Newspaper, " US Supreme Court To Rule On Cops Who Get Law Wrong," August 4, 2014