What To Know About Unlawful Searches

Law Blog

If you've been arrested after a law enforcement search, it may not have been lawful. Law enforcement has to abide by the law when carrying out a search or your charges may be dropped. Many of those arrested never realize that the legality of the way the search was done should be examined. Read and find out more about searches that may not stand up to scrutiny.

Do You Have a Warrant?

It's a myth that law enforcement has to have a warrant to carry out a search. Searches that come after a warrant is issued by a judge are not as common as so-called warrantless searches. Sometimes, search warrants are issued as a result of an investigation and an affidavit has been submitted to a judge. If no warrant exists, law enforcement must have some very good reasons or grounds to carry out a search. Since many warrantless searches are carried out after stopping a vehicle, the stop from start to finish should be carefully examined using police records and video footage of the incident.

Reasonable Cause to Stop a Vehicle

Law enforcement cannot stop a driver without legal cause. The reasons for the stop, however, may be vague. For example, law enforcement might say they stopped you because you fit the description of someone they were on the lookout for. Other common reasons to stop drivers include minor traffic violations, equipment issues, and suspicious behavior.

Grounds for a Search

Once stopped, law enforcement is tasked with doing things by the book. Vehicles and people are considered private property so there has to be reasonable cause to search a vehicle. Often, law enforcement will ask you if they may search. If you agree, you have no defense to the search and what is found. If law enforcement sees something in clear view in your vehicle, however, they now have reasonable cause and may search without permission. They might see drug paraphernalia, alcoholic drinks, a weapon, etc. If you did not give permission for the search, let your criminal defense lawyer take apart the state's probable cause evidence.

Talk to a Lawyer

It's vital that you get a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case. You could be facing severe punishment if you don't fight the charges. Almost all defendants will be presented with a plea bargain, and you will need help understanding your options. It's also important to tell your lawyer everything since some things are not captured by the cameras. You might be surprised at how quickly your charges can be dropped when the stop or the search was not legal. Speak to an attorney and find out more.


16 September 2020