"The Best Defense"

The police have a valuable tool to find out whether or not you have controlled substances in your home. It's called the garbage search. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that whoever deposits their trash for collection in an area open to public inspection gives up their right to privacy with respect to all of the discarded items. If the police suspect you of selling, possessing, or manufacturing drugs, they will make arrangements to ride along with your local garbage collector and pick up the garbage at your home, apartment, or business. The police will make sure to watch your garbage loaded from the trash container into the garbage truck. Your garbage will be kept separate from other garbage in the truck. The police will then search your garbage for any items that may indicate the possession, sale, or manufacturing of controlled substances. They may find coffee filters with methamphetamine residue, a pipe, baggies used to distribute controlled substances, a scale, or perhaps marijuana seeds and stems. These items will be tested at a lab to determine whether or not they test positive for controlled substances.

If the items test positive for controlled substances, the police may apply for a warrant to search your home, apartment, or business. A judge will issue the search warrant if there is a substantial basis for concluding that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular location. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has determined that the seizure of contraband from a garbage search can provide a substantial basis for a probable cause determination. The police will no doubt include other facts in their search warrant application to support the issuance of a warrant, such as any prior drug related contacts with law enforcement, a high volume of short term traffic stops at your home, or perhaps a controlled drug buy made from inside your residence by an undercover informant.

If a search warrant is granted, the police may request permission from the judge to serve the warrant in the nighttime, after 8:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. Police may also seek permission for a no-knock entry into your home or business if knocking and announcing their presence would be dangerous or futile or allow for the destruction of the evidence.

Be careful what you deposit in your garbage. You never know when the police may be conducting a garbage search. If you have been charged with drug possession, sale, or manufacturing, you should hire a skilled Minneapolis criminal defense attorney to defend your freedom. You may be able to file a motion to suppress the evidence based on a violation of your constitutional rights. Robert J. Shane has over 27 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and will use his experience to provide you with the best defense. For more information and tips for suspects in a criminal case, or to discuss your case, please call Robert J. Shane at (612) 339-1024 or visit his website at www.criminallawyerminnesota.com.