Last week, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges pending against my client in Kane County were dismissed after the court granted my Motion to Suppress the search of his gun safe inside his house and threw out all of the evidence seized as a result of the illegal search.
A couple of police officers arrived at my client’s home to serve him with an Emergency Order of Protection arising out of a domestic dispute with his wife. The officer asked my client if he had any firearms inside the home. My client advised the officer that he had several firearms inside a locked safe in his home and showed the officer his valid FOID card.The officer contacted her supervisor who instructed her to seize the weapons in the home, inventory them and transport them to the police station. My client indicated his displeasure with what the police were doing but was told that he had no choice in the matter. He provided the officers with the key to the gun safe and the police started removing the guns from the safe. As they were removing the guns from the safe, they smelled some burnt cannabis, looked inside a bag at the bottom of the safe and found a pipe that is used to smoke marijuana. My client was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
I filed a Motion to Suppress alleging that the search was illegal because the police did not have a warrant to search the safe and that there was no exception to the warrant requirement. After I established that the police conducted the search without a search warrant, the burden shifted to the state to show that an exception existed. The state made several arguments which failed. The state argued that the Paraphernalia would have eventually been discovered when the guns would have to have been removed by the police because he had to leave the home and the only way he could go back would be with a police escort. The state argued that the Defendant was required to surrender his FOID card and surrender his weapons as a result of being served with an Order of Protection. However, we produced a letter from the Illinois State Police dated three days after the date of the serving of the Order of Protection which informed him that his FOID card had been revoked and he had 48 hours to turn over his firearms to the local police. After hearing all the arguments and all the evidence, the Court ruled that the police had no right to seize his weapons so any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search of the safe was suppressed and would not be allowed into evidence in his case. Faced with the fact that the evidence could not be used against the Defendant, the state had to drop and dismiss the Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges.
Very early on in the case the state offered my client a plea agreement that would have required that he plead guilty and perform several hours of community service and pay fines, fees and court costs. Since I recognized that my client’s rights were violated, I would not agree to have my client accept an agreement on a case that was clearly winnable. As a result of my diligent and aggressive representation of my client, the charges have been dismissed and he no longer is facing any legal consequences.
James Dimeas is an award winning Chicago criminal defense attorney and author with more than 23 years of experience aggressively representing his clients against gun and drug charges. If you have a gun or drug case in Illinois, contact me in Chicago (312-229-5500), DuPage and Kane (630-504-2096) or Lake (847-696-6458) for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.