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Miranda Warning Required to Search for Marijuana in Lafayette and Crawfordsville Hotel Rooms

Hotel rooms are often full in Lafayette and nearby Crawfordsville, Indiana. Purdue and Wabash College draw out-of-town guests for academic conferences and football games. Hotel rooms can also become the location for late night parties where marijuana and other drugs could be present. If you were arrested for possession of marijuana or other drugs, after consenting to a search of your hotel room, you should contact a Lafayette criminal defense attorney. If police gained your consent to search after you were in custody, the search may have been illegal.

Drug Possession Defense Attorneys in Lafayette, Indiana: When Hotel Searches are Illegal

Hotel guests enjoy the same right against unreasonable police searches as people in private residences. Police cannot search your hotel room without a warrant, unless there is a legally recognized exception to the warrant requirement. One such exception is when a person consents to the search. However, your consent must be voluntary. If you are in custody, the police must tell you that you have a right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to give consent to a search. If you are not advised of the right to speak with an attorney, your consent is not valid and any subsequent search is illegal.

Crawfordsville, Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney: Consent to Search Hotel Room Ruled Illegal

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the search of a Crawfordsville hotel room was illegal, after police obtained a man’s consent to search his room without advising him of his right to an attorney. Police were called to a hotel room after a worker reported smelling marijuana. When police arrived, the defendant admitted to having smoked marijuana in the room, but told police officers there was nothing left. His hotel roommate consented to a search of the hotel room. Police then found multiple bags of marijuana, along with drug paraphernalia. The defendant was charged with possession of marijuana in the Montgomery County Superior Court.

At the time consent was given, neither the defendant nor his companion was under arrest. However, they had both made incriminating statements about smoking marijuana, there were five police officers and a canine present, and a police officer told the men that they were “not free to wander off”. The Court of Appeals found that the men were in custody, because a reasonable person under the circumstances would believe that he is not free to leave. Police admitted that they never advised either man of the right to consult with an attorney, before deciding whether to consent to a search. Therefore, the Court held that the consent was not voluntary and the search was illegal.

Lafayette, Indiana Drug Possession Defense Attorneys: We Will Fight an Illegal Search

If you were arrested for possession of marijuana or other drugs after consenting to a search of your hotel room, call Gibson Law Office. Police must advise you of your Miranda rights before asking you to consent to a search, if you are in custody. Gibson Law Office has a team of drug possession defense attorneys that can evaluate your case and attack an illegal search.