D’Emilia Law’s skepticism of police procedure at a traffic stop led to a favorable resolution for a client accused of drug possession
Challenge: Our client was a young man in his 20s from the Dominican Republic who resides in New York City. He is a loving son who supports his mother, but also has an arrest history for drug-related charges.
In late 2020, he had been pulled over by police on the FDR Drive for what on its surface seemed like a routine traffic stop. The police searched the grabbable area of his car and found a substantial amount of cocaine in his glove compartment. He was arrested, taken into custody and his car was impounded. He was facing a very lengthy prison sentence – up to 20 years – if convicted of charges stemming from possession and intent to sell.
Solution: The client was referred to D’Emilia Law by another attorney. As firm founder and NYC criminal defense lawyer Paul D’Emilia investigated the police report, he felt that the traffic stop was unusual. He respectfully asked the district attorney to look into its circumstances to ensure it was in accordance with the law.
She eventually sent D’Emilia Law key pretrial discovery evidence in accordance with the Brady doctrine. This federal rule requires that the prosecution must turn over all exculpatory evidence – which might exonerate the defendant – to the defense in a criminal case.
The evidence revealed that though the police had been investigating our client for months, their “stop and search” warrant had expired 24 hours prior to the traffic stop and arrest. Using the warrant as the precipice for searching the car deviated from law enforcement and legal procedure, and ultimately nullified much of the prosecution’s case.
Result: With this new evidence, D’Emilia Law negotiated quickly with the prosecution, whose plea offer was the reduced charge of an ‘A’ misdemeanor and conditional discharge. We felt this plea offer was so favorable that we did not pursue a motion to dismiss. Our client was elated that he would not be serving any prison time; he is also genuinely remorseful for his actions and will use this opportunity to begin making better life choices.
We are always honored when other lawyers refer the accused or their own clients. As former prosecutors, they know we are uniquely positioned to uncover details that can lead to positive outcomes. We thought certain details were too convenient for the police on the day of the arrest. By following our instincts – and thanks to the strong ethics of the prosecution – we secured a favorable, life-changing result. This kept our client out of jail and offered him a chance to turn his life around.