In: Criminal Defense

What Does Search and Seizure By The Police Mean?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the core of search and seizure law in the United States, stating that unreasonable searches and seizures infringe on an individual’s liberty interests. Therefore, the law prevents the state from conducting such unreasonable searches and seizures without a valid warrant.

Neutral and detached magistrates issue arrest warrants granting police officers the authority to seize a person and bring them before a court or tribunal. A search warrant gives a court personal jurisdiction over a defendant, and personal jurisdiction is the power the court has over a specific individual.

Police officers can perform different kinds of seizures, including full custodial arrests, investigatory detentions, and the seizure of evidence. Searches might involve your person, home, vehicle, or other property. If you believe you were the victim of an unreasonable search or seizure, contact a Texas criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

If the police believe they can find evidence of a crime in a place where you have an expectation of privacy, they cannot simply search whenever they want. Furthermore, police cannot simply arrest you because they have a hunch you committed a crime or an officer is unhappy with you.

Unlawful searches and seizures happen when:

  • There is no warrant issued for the search or arrest
  • There are no exigent circumstances that justify a warrantless search or arrest

Of course, there are situations when the police do not have the time to get a warrant, or the public safety might be at risk. However, when there is no legal justification, or you do not consent, the police will need to obtain a valid warrant in order to conduct a search or seizure.

The Importance of Identifying Search and Seizure Violations

We all know that officers are not always in line with the law and your civil rights. If an individual is subjected to an illegal search or seizure, then any evidence should be excluded from the prosecution’s case. This is under the exclusionary rule, and it allows for the suppression of any evidence stemming from a constitutional violation. For example:

  • The police searched your car without a warrant or another justification and found an unlawful substance. The prosecution should not be able to use those drugs as evidence against you.
  • An officer arrested you without a warrant or probable cause, and you subsequently confessed. Due to the unlawful arrest, the confession that stemmed from the arrest should be suppressed.

Such suppression never happens automatically, however. You cannot expect the prosecutor to voluntarily throw out evidence if the police made a mistake. Instead, you need a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to file the proper motion to suppress evidence with the court.

Speak with a Denton Criminal Defense Attorney

Are you facing criminal charges and need a strong defense? Does your case involve a potentially unlawful search or seizure? The Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, is ready to help. Contact us as soon as possible so we can evaluate your case.