Attorney WR Moore has been diligently defending the rights of the accused in Fort Lauderdale for over a decade. During that time, we have seen a number of Judges, elected officials and State Attorneys, come and go. One thing that has remained consistent throughout all of these years, however, is the fact that Fort Lauderdale is one of the better jurisdictions in South Florida to resolve a criminal case.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and are facing criminal prosecution in Fort Lauderdale, you may wish to consult with us before taking another step. Our law firm has the experience needed in Fort Lauderdale to protect your rights to the fullest extent and successfully resolve your criminal case. Our office is conveniently located just a short walk from the courthouse on Clematis Street and we would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.
Attorney Review of Search Warrant Cases
If your arrest in Fort Lauderdale involved the use of a search warrant, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney experienced in handling this very technical aspect of criminal defense work. The validity of a search warrant may be put into question where Fort Lauderdale criminal judge or magistrate that issued the order, did so without meeting specific requirements as they relate to probable cause. An improperly issued search warrant will have likely resulted in a violation of your constitutional rights and a properly filed motion to suppress may lead to a dismissal of your Fort Lauderdale criminal case. Like all professionals, criminal defense attorneys range in their skill and ability. Criminal law encompasses so many diverse areas, that it is unrealistic to assume that every criminal lawyer is good at every type of criminal case. The use of a search warrant by Fort Lauderdale law enforcement should be absolutely scrutinized early on in the criminal litigation process.
At the most basic level, a criminal lawyer should first attempt to determine if any issues exist relating to the warrant and or probable cause by examining the factual information contained therein. In doing this, a good first step is to ask three fundamental questions:
1. Can it be determined what the Fort Lauderdale Sheriff’s officers knew about the nature and location of the items that were ultimately seized.
2. How were the Fort Lauderdale Sheriff’s officers sure of this? In other words, what was the degree of probability as to the nature and location of the items seized.
3. What was level of reliability of the factual information used to obtain the search warrant?
If after a thorough examination by a qualified criminal defense attorney it is determined that that the affidavit had set forth facts establishing a reasonable belief that seizable items are located in the place to be searched, that attorney should then further determine that the facts giving rise to this belief are reliable facts.
Basically, the facts set forth in the affidavit for a search warrant must have one of two sources: (1) the Fort Lauderdale officer filing the affidavit personally observed the facts or (2) someone (an informant working for the Fort Lauderdale Sherriff’s Office) must have notified the officer of the facts. An informant is anyone who does not personally appear before the court to swear to the facts in the affidavit for a search warrant.
Where the Fort Lauderdale police officer filing the affidavit personally observed the facts, involves no informant the criminal attorney reviewing the file only needs to determine the reliability of the police officer. In a situation where the Fort Lauderdale officer goes beyond personal observations and relays information from an informant, additional facts must be present that establish that the informant is a truthful person. The Fort Lauderdale courts have recognized a number of factual circumstances sufficient to establish the reliability of an informant:
1. The informant is a victim, eyewitness, or responsible citizen of Fort Lauderdale.
2. The informant is a Fort Lauderdale law enforcement official.
3. The informant previously furnished reliable information to the Fort Lauderdale Sheriff’s Office.
4. The informant made a declaration against the informant's own penal interest.
5. The informant's statements have been corroborated.
Remember, search warrant cases can be very tricky. The above referenced information can be regarded as the most basic level of search warrant review.
• Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer Practice Guide - Inventory Search of Automobiles
• Evidence Update: Identification Section
• Fort Lauderdale DNA Attorney Excerpt
• Basics About Arraignment, Pre-Trial Motions & Trial
• Criminal Defense Lawyers Search & Seizure Checklist
• Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorneys – Alcohol Absorption
• Self-Representation in Criminal Cases