When law enforcement officers believe that you are in possession of illegal substances, they might attempt to conduct a search of your home or vehicle to confirm their suspicions. There are some cases, however, when such a search may violate your government-protected rights.
If a wrongful search and seizure leads to the police arresting you under criminal charges, you do not have to accept those charges without defending yourself. You can take the appropriate steps toward protecting your freedom by familiarizing yourself with your options after an illegal search.
Know when a search is illegal
The two clear-cut circumstances under which an officer can search your property are when they have a warrant or when you offer your consent. Officers may also assert their right to search when they have reasonable cause to believe that illegal activity is occurring, such as reckless driving being a possible indicator of the presence of alcohol in the vehicle. When an officer conducts a search outside these circumstances, however, it is a blatantly wrongful act.
Exercise your rights against a wrongful search
Your first line of defense against a potentially wrongful search is your right to remain silent. By being careful not to accidentally provide consent for a search, you can more easily build a strong courtroom defense against the charges facing you. You are also under the protection of the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule which states that the prosecution may not leverage evidence obtained from a wrongful search and seizure against you.
Presenting wrongfully-obtained evidence is an abuse of police authority that can negatively affect your life for years to come. It is important to carefully plan your defense and exercise your rights to the fullest to ensure a favorable outcome.