Two plainclothes police officers were sitting in an unmarked car which was parked near a high crime area just outside a bar. For the past two weeks prior to the incident, there had been hold-ups in the neighborhood. They noticed a car with African-American males in it slow down in front of the bar and stop their car briefly. A New York Criminal Lawyer said they looked around and all three occupants of the car stared at the bar.
The police officer followed the car. The car stopped at a stop sign. And the car went again and slowed down in front of another bar. They briefly paused in front of the bar and all the males stared at the bar. Then they went on their way. The police car still followed them for half a block and then the police officer stopped the car.
The police officer asked for the license and registration. The driver of the car got out of the car and tried to explain to the police officer that he had forgotten his wallet in the house. The other two passengers in the car bent down over their seats. The other two men didn’t have any IDs either.
The police officer began asking questions of the driver. He noticed that the driver had both of his hands in his pockets. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the police officer asked him to take his hands from his pockets. When the driver complied, the police officer noticed that something bulged in the driver’s pockets. He patted down the driver and felt that the bulge in his pocket seemed metallic. The police officer asked the driver to turn out his pockets. The driver had .25 caliber bullets. The police officers searched the car and found a gun under the front seat. The plainclothes officers arrested the three African-American men.
The men were charged and convicted of criminal possession of a weapon. The men pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and were sentenced to probation. The three men were tried separately. The driver moved to suppress the physical evidence obtained against him as a consequence of an illegal stop and an illegal search of his vehicle. But his motion was denied. The driver was consequently convicted. The driver appealed his conviction for criminal possession of a weapon as a misdemeanor on the ground that the physical evidence presented against him were fruits of a poisoned tree since the police had no probable cause to stop his vehicle.
The Court found that the initial stop was not valid. The plainclothes police officer who arrested the three African-American males testified that when he was following the three males in their car, he stopped them because he just had a feeling that a crime was about to be committed.
A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said there was nothing suspicious about driving slowly near a bar and staring into a bar. There is nothing from that act that would make a reasonable man think that a crime is being committed. The stop was then not valid as there was no probable cause. The subsequent pat down of the driver and the discovery of the .25 caliber bullets was also not valid. The .25 caliber bullets should not have been admitted into evidence. The subsequent search of the car after the .25 caliber bullets were found was also not valid. The gun discovered under the front seat should not have been admitted as evidence against the driver.
Since there is no admissible evidence against the driver that could prove his guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the criminal indictment must be dismissed. His conviction must be reversed and he must be acquitted.
Were you routinely pulled over by a police officer? At the routine stop, did the police officer pat you down and search your car? Did the police officer find a gun during his search of the car? Whether you have been charged with a gun crime, sex crimes or theft, contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates for advice and a free consultation.