What constitutes illegal search and seizure?

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Should you face charges of drug possession or trafficking, the investigation details may aid in your defense. Police procedures may help exonerate you many times because the officers involved did not follow the law.

One of the biggest hurdles you can face in a drug case is evidence that you had an illegal substance in your possession. However, if that evidence came from an unlawful search and seizure, a judge may consider it the fruit of the poisonous tree and throw it out.

What makes a search illegal?

The Constitution protects you from the police overstepping and building a case against you illegally. Searching without a court-issued warrant may rise to a Fourth Amendment violation. To obtain a judge’s permission, the police have to show that they have probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. This cannot come in the form of a hunch but rather, some investigative evidence that you are hiding something.

When can the cops search you without a warrant?

There are times when the police may search without getting a warrant first.

  • An officer sees something in plain sight
  • You consented to a search after the officer asked
  • The police believe there is imminent danger of harm or destruction of evidence
  • The police place you under arrest and search your body

Should the police violate your right against an illegal search and seizure, it may forever bar them from using that evidence against you. It is crucial that you understand your rights before the police question you or, at the very least, pay attention to the way they ask questions.