This is the next article in our series on the handling of drug charges in Laredo, Texas. Our last post discussed issues which arise in drug trafficking cases. It is important for a defendant to understand that, if they have been arrested for trafficking, then they are facing serious charges. One should retain a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling such matters. In this article we will discuss an issue which arises more than many may think – the use of confidential informants by law enforcement. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Laredo drug charges may involve search warrants which were based on information from informants
Laredo, Texas police generally may not search an individual’s person, car, or home without a search warrant. Officers can only obtain a warrant by demonstrating, to a Judge, that they have “probable cause” to believe that criminal activity is afoot. When filing an application for a warrant, it is somewhat common for officers to include information which they received from a confidential informant. Under Franks v. Delaware, however, officers may only include information from informants who are believed to be reliable. If an officer includes inaccurate information, in a warrant application, which was received by an unreliable informant then it may be possible to suppress any evidence gained as a result of the warrant. Depending on the facts of the case, such suppression may result in a dismissal of the charges.
The Court will conduct a two-step analysis when determining whether evidence should be suppressed under Franks. First, the Court will determine whether the officer had a good-faith reason to believe that the witness was reliable. If it is shown that the witness, in fact, is unreliable, then the Court will review the warrant application again. The Court will determine whether the application, with the informant’s information removed, still contains information which would have justified issuing the warrant. If other information in the application justifies the issuance of a warrant then the seizure of evidence will be upheld. If, however, the redacted application does not justify the issuance of a warrant then the evidence will be suppressed.
Cases which involve confidential informants are very fact specific. How the Court will rule in any given instance will depend on the particulars of the case. It is, therefore, crucial that you retain an attorney who is experienced in such matters.
A Laredo criminal defense lawyer can assist with challenging the use of a confidential informant
An experienced attorney will understands the steps which need to be taken in order to challenge the use of a confidential informant. These steps will include an investigation into the informant’s background, an independent analysis of other instances in which the informant has testified in Court, and more. Joey Tellez is a Laredo drug charge lawyer who handles cases in both state and Federal Court. Our office prides itself on providing the highest level of service and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today.