Many of the criminal and traffic cases won by Anderegg& Associates are the result of pre-trial motions which lead to the suppression of evidence without which the prosecution can no longer prove the charges issued. Two of many such examples follow.
The Unlawful Arrest
Jim lost control of his vehicle on the Miller Parkway and crashed into the median. Jim abandoned the inoperable vehicle and began walking. When he was about 300 yards away from the vehicle, he was stopped, detained, and eventually arrested for OWI. A subsequent chemical test of his breath revealed an alcohol level of .16.
Through skilled cross-examination of the arresting officer, attorneys at Anderegg& Associates demonstrated that prior to asking Jim to perform field sobriety tests and even before establishing he had been the vehicle’s operator, Jim was detained (handcuffed) and placed in the back of a squad car. The attorney eventually convinced the judge that the level of restraint constituted an arrest and that at that time, the officer did not have probable cause to believe Jim had committed a crime. The court therefore ruled that the field sobriety tests and the .16 breath test would be suppressed and unavailable to the prosecution as evidence. Consequently, the prosecutor dropped the charges.
The Unlawful Search
Charlie was charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver when a search of his home yielded several ounces of marijuana packaged in a manner which suggested preparation for resale. According to the police, Charlie also admitted, during an interrogation following seizure of the drugs, to having sold some of the marijuana. The evidence available to the prosecution therefore appeared strong and sufficient to convict Charlie. Because of a prior drug conviction, the prosecutor was seeking a prison sentence.
Faced with these difficulties, the attorneys at Anderegg& Associates challenged the search and the alleged statements given by Charlie, on the grounds they were obtained contrary to Charlie’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. In particular, Charlie’s attorney presented a cogent and compelling case that although the initial entry into Charlie’s home may have been lawful, police unlawfully expanded the scope of their search into Charlie’s bedroom where they discovered the marijuana. Charlie’s attorney argued this was a violation of Charlie’s Fourth Amendment rights. Then, because the police had confronted Charlie with their discovery to elicit incriminating statements without reading Charlie his Miranda rights, Charlie’s attorney maintained such an approach violated Charlie’s Fifth Amendment rights.
The court agreed on both counts and barred the State from further use of either the drugs found or Charlie’s confession. Because the State could not proceed without this evidence, it consequently agreed to dismiss the charges.
By Rex Anderegg