Crime scene tapeThis is the fourth post in our series on defending embezzlement charges in Little Rock. Our last post discussed Arkansas’ penalties and fines for embezzlement. It is important to understand the possible ramifications of your situation when you are in the process of selecting defense counsel. In this post we will discuss another important topic – how search and seizure issues impact such charges in our state. If you have been charged, and believe that the police violated your rights, then it is important to contact an attorney immediately.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits law enforcement from engaging in an unreasonable “search and seizure” of one’s property, records, home, and more. This protection extends to cell phones, smartphones, computers, and cloud storage. If, for example, police arrest someone and the arrestee has a smartphone on them, then the officers may not immediately begin to go through the phone’s information, files, call history, text logs, etc. Once they have the phone in their safekeeping then they are required to obtain a warrant from a Judge in order to search the phone. This requirement of a warrant also applies to computers, items stored online in services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Onedrive. If police collect records in violation of these requirements then such evidence can be excluded from Court proceedings.

Search and seizure issues often arise when Arkansas residents face embezzlement charges. It is not uncommon for police to obtain records from a laptop, a phone, or other electronic source. If they obtain such records without first obtaining a warrant then a criminal defense lawyer can file a Motion to Suppress the evidence from Court proceedings. If this Motion is successful then the evidence would not be admissible, and could not be referenced, at a trial. The first step of excluding such evidence is to file a Motion with the Court. The state will be permitted to file a response and an evidentiary hearing will be set. The officers who searched the electronic device, as well as other relevant witnesses, will testify at the evidentiary hearing. At the end of the testimony the Circuit Judge will decide whether the Fourth Amendment was violated and, if it was, whether any obtained evidence should be disallowed from trial. If excluded evidence is crucial to the prosecution’s case then a search and seizure issues may lead to an outright dismissal.

Little Rock residents charged with embezzlement should contact an attorney immediately. Counsel will immediately obtain arrest reports, police statements, and other evidence which the prosecution is required to provide under Brady v. Maryland. If search and seizure issues are present then a request can quickly be filed with the Court. Our defense lawyers have over twenty-five years of combined legal experience and handle a number of white collar crime cases. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff and throughout the rest of the state.