Motion to Suppress House Guests
Can House Guest Challenge an Unlawful Search? Short answer is YES.
What is required for a House Guest to Challenge an Unlawful Search?
Standing: In order for there to be a 4th Amendment Search there must be a reasonable expectation of privacy in the thing searched. For example, assume person A is a house guest of person B. Person A would not have an expectation of privacy in the search of person B’s bedroom. However, Person B would likely have an expectation of privacy in other areas, such as his own pockets, or inside his bag, and possibly the home depending on the circumstances.
Facts are Important:
Courts have done a good job of fleshing out areas where a house guest would have a reasonable expectation of privacy and where they would not. Consider a few if the cases where a house guest was found to have such an expectation of privacy:
Expectation of privacy found in his own pocket. See Arriaga v. State, 910 So.2d 883 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005).
Expectation of privacy found in apartment where overnight guest had brought all of her possessions to the apartment and wasn’t sure when she would be leaving. See Brady v. State, 394 So.2d 1073 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981).
Why you need a lawyer:
Motions to Suppress can be the deciding factor in a number of cases. In some instances, a failed motion to success can mean jail or prison, whereas a successful motion to suppress can mean freedom. Once a judge decides on a motion to suppress, there is always the option of asking for a rehearing if the outcome was unfavorable. However, getting a judge to overturn an unfavorable decision is far more difficult than prevailing on the motion the first time. It’s important to hire an experienced lawyer who has research tools at his disposal and is experienced enough to make the critical distinctions necessary to prevail on your motion to suppress.