When a person is subject to search and seizure by the police, certain legal steps must be taken before the inspection of their home or personal property is considered legal. A law firm would advise that some evidence collected during a search can be contested if the search was not correctly performed. Mistakes do happen; however, if that mistake violated someone’s Fourth Amendment rights, it can be challenged.
Search And Seizure Laws
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no official can search a citizen’s home as part of a criminal investigation without a written warrant. Although some deviations from this are permitted, most warrants that are written court orders to enter and inspect a home are needed in order for the search to be considered legal and for anything found at that time to be admissible as evidence. Some investigations do take place without a warrant for different reasons, including when a person is not aware that entry can be denied if a search warrant cannot be produced at that time.
Legal Inspections Without A Warrant
There are situations where a warrant is not required – and search and seizure is still considered legal. Attorneys with a criminal defense law firm recommend that citizens learn the four reasons listed below to know their rights and understand when searches do not require a warrant.
Evidence in Plain View – If officials can see obvious evidence in the open without having to perform a search, such evidence is admissible in court even when seized without a warrant. An investigation may continue in the area for further evidence.
Investigation During Arrest – If the primary goal is to take a person into custody, a location may be legally searched as long as an arrest is being made.
Search With Consent – If a person in question gives consent for an entry and inspection of their property, then a warrant is not necessary and evidence obtained during that search is admissible.
Urgency to Protect Evidence – If it appears that evidence may be destroyed or someone will try to leave the scene, law officials may not need a search warrant. Since the degree of urgency is determined by law officers at the scene, it is possible to challenge that decision made at the scene of the search.
Can Law Officials Be Denied Entry?
Denying entry to a law enforcement official can be looked at in more than one way. It is possible for a person to deny a search when a warrant cannot be produced. Whether or not denying a non-warranted entry will protect an individual’s rights – or have it viewed as an obstruction of justice – may have to be decided later in a trial court. Anyone who refuses a search should contact a criminal defense law firm immediately to discuss the situation.
All U.S. citizens should know their constitutional rights regarding search and seizure and then make an honest, accurate assessment of the situation before denying police entry. If there is a warrant, then a search must be allowed. The advice of an attorney with a criminal defense law firm is for a person who has been subject to a search and seizure to seek legal advice as quickly as possible to determine if any rights were violated.
Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520