Two people in Manchester are facing serious criminal charges after police searched their home and found large amounts of drugs and cash. While the details are sketchy at this point, the search seems to have been initiated after the couple’s 2-year-old son was hospitalized after being found unresponsive on their couch.
The incident highlights how quickly police can invade your right to privacy.
Couple Faces Drug Charges
The terrible situation began on Friday, May 25, 2018, when the parents of a 2-year-old child found him unresponsive on a couch in their Manchester, New Hampshire home. They rushed the boy to the Catholic Medical Center, where they told the staff that the child might have eaten dry wall from a small plastic bag in their home.
Unfortunately, the child died later that day.
While an autopsy has not yet been performed to find the true cause of death, police managed to conduct a search of the couple’s home. According to the initial reports, once inside, police found a significant amount of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and suboxone, as well as $12,000 in cash.
The couple was arrested and have been charged with four counts of drug possession with intent to distribute.
Police Cannot Search Homes Without a Reason
While there are a lot of things going on in this story, and there are a lot of details that have not been provided, an important part of the story is the space between the trip to the hospital and when the police searched the couple’s home.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits searches that are “unreasonable.” In order for a search to be reasonable, police either need a warrant to do it, or their search has to fit within one of a small handful of exceptions to the warrant requirement.
In this Case, Several Options for Search
In this case, there are several possible openings that the police could have used to search the couple’s home.
First, they could have gotten the couple’s consent. Consent searches are the most common way for police to perform unreasonable searches that would have violated the Fourth Amendment, because giving your consent automatically makes the search reasonable.
Second, the medical staff at the hospital may have gotten suspicious about the child’s injury and notified the police of potential drug activity. These statements could have been used to obtain a search warrant that was then executed to find the drugs in the home.
Finally, there may have been an administrative search by, for example, the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) after the boy’s death. Because investigators from the DCYF are not police or law enforcement, they do not need a warrant to conduct an investigation. However, if they noticed evidence of drug activity, DCYF officers can still notify the police and give them what they need to obtain a search warrant.
New Hampshire Criminal Defense Attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A.
It is always helpful to have a criminal defense attorneys at your side even before the charges have been filed. If you think you are being investigated for a crime in New Hampshire, call the law office of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at (888) 332-5855 or contact us online.