It was recently reported that the executive officer of a Fortune 500 company was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. This followed the discovery of a significant stash of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy, in his suite at a hotel in another state. People in New York might have questions about drug charges that are filed after a housekeeper or another staff member of a hotel reports finding drugs in a guest’s room.
A patron who is lawfully checked into a hotel room is protected by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution from legal action if a maid or housekeeper reports the presence of any illegal objects in the room. This protection is in effect until that guest is checked out or evicted from the hotel. Such a discovery constitutes an unlawful search, which could lead to the dismissal of a case due to the disallowance of illegally obtained evidence.
However, if a guest is evicted due to violations of hotel policies that were clearly communicated to him or her, the room can be searched as soon as an eviction notice is served, which is when the guest’s protection under the Fourth Amendment expires. The same will apply if the guest accidentally leaves drugs behind when he or she checks out of the hotel. In both these instances, housekeepers and maids can report their discoveries of illegal drugs or other objects in the room, and it might be used as key evidence in the court.
Anyone in New York who is facing drug charges after drugs were found in his or her hotel room can make sure that his or her rights are protected by retaining the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyer can review all the facts and the charges along with the search and seizure procedures and its timing. The attorney might be able to get the charges dismissed, and there might even be grounds to sue the hotel.