Centre County Drug Case – Unconstitutional Search of Fraternity House
Penn State Student Gets Marijuana Possession Charge Dismissed
The police conducted a controlled purchase of drugs from a Penn State student at his fraternity house. The police obtained a search warrant for the drug suspect’s room. After executing the search warrant in the State College drug delivery suspect’s room, the State College Police proceeded down a hallway to another room where they thought that they could find the drug delivery suspect. The police knocked on the door, and, upon the door being opened, the police immediately observed drug paraphernalia. The police obtained a search warrant for the second bedroom so they could seize the drugs and related paraphernalia. The second room that was searched did not belong to the drug delivery suspect. The police charged the resident of the second room with various misdemeanor drug possession charges. The second room resident was participating in the ARD program in Centre County for another drug-related offense, so, if he were convicted of the new misdemeanor drug possession charges in State College, he would be removed from the ARD program by the Centre County District Attorney’s office.
Pre-Trial Motion to Suppress Filed
The client was represented by experienced State College drug defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle during the pre-trial phase of the case. Attorney Dunkle filed a pre-trial motion with the Centre County Court and sought suppression of evidence by arguing that the police actions of walking down the hallway and attempting to locate the drug delivery suspect in other areas of the house exceeded the scope of the search warrant for the drug delivery suspect’s room. The experienced Centre County criminal defense lawyer argued that since the actions of the police were not supported by the search warrant, the actions violated the client’s constitutional rights, and therefore all evidence obtained from the unconstitutional search must be suppressed. At the scheduled hearing on the client’s motion to suppress, the district attorney agreed to allow the client to plead guilty to a summary offense and a dismissal of the misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. The client accepted the agreement. With the misdemeanor charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance being dismissed by the Centre County District Attorney’s Office, the experienced State College expungement lawyer Jason S. Dunkle filed an expungement petition to have the charge expunged from the client’s criminal record. Also, by avoiding a conviction of the misdemeanor charges, the client successfully completed the ARD program as well.