TAMPA (FOX 13) - William Montanez walked out of jail and into the arms of his mother. It was their first embrace in 45 days. Hours before, Montanez was in court. His attorney, Patrick Leduc, had a request for the judge.
"I think you need to order him released, that way the jail doesn't keep him," said Leduc.
The appeals court judge approved his release and Montanez was free a free man. He'd sat in jail for over a month. His mom, Patti Montanez, says he turned 25 behind bars.
"It was really hard," she said. "I'm just happy that he's coming home."
Montanez's troubles all started in June when he was pulled over for not properly yielding. In his car, a deputy found a small amount of marijuana and a suspicious liquid substance. A field drug test kit showed it tested positive for the illegal drug THC.
Montanez was charged with a felony.
Last month, deputies also wanted to search the contents of his phone. Montanez was jailed for contempt of court after he could not unlock his cell phones because, as he told the judge, he did not remember the passwords.
Attorney Patrick Leduc called searching his phones a civil violation and a fishing expedition.
"If you get arrested for anything, you are subject to having your electronic devices subject to a search if they convince a judge to give a warrant and, to me, that’s very problematic," said Leduc.
But Montanez's luck started turning when FDLE determined the liquid in his car was not drugs. It was men's cologne.
The field drug test got it wrong, again, and the felony charges against Montanez were dropped.
Now he is going home, happy for his freedom, but more aware than ever of how easily it can be taken away.