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How Does Illegal Search and Seizure Affect Drug Crime Cases?

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Aurora IL criminal defense attorneyWhen a person is arrested and charged with drug crimes, the prosecution’s case will often rely on the evidence recovered. Drugs or drug paraphernalia that are found on a person, in their vehicle, or in their home may be used as evidence, and depending on the amount of drugs and other types of evidence, such as materials used to manufacture or package drugs, a person may face charges of drug possession or drug manufacturing and delivery. However, police officers are required to follow the law when performing searches, and in cases involving illegal search and seizure, the evidence recovered by police officers may be inadmissible.

Understanding Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides people with protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The “exclusionary rule” applies to evidence obtained through these types of unreasonable searches, meaning that evidence that was obtained illegally cannot be introduced in a criminal case against a defendant. In addition, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine also applies, and this states that any evidence derived from evidence that was obtained illegally will also be inadmissible in court.

Typically, law enforcement officials must receive a search warrant before performing a search of a person’s property, including their home or vehicle. However, a few exceptions may apply to this requirement, including:

  • Probable cause - A search may be performed if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime, and this suspicion is supported by the facts available to the officer before performing the search. For example, a police officer may notice the smell of marijuana after pulling a person over for a traffic violation, and this may provide them with probable cause to search the vehicle for drugs.

  • Items in plain view - A warrant will not be needed for items that can be plainly seen by police officers, such as drugs or drug paraphernalia that are visible through the windows of a vehicle.

  • Search incident to arrest - When lawfully arresting someone, police officers are allowed to perform a search of their person. Evidence found in these searches, such as baggies of drugs in a person’s pockets, will usually be admissible in court.

  • Consent - Searches may be performed without a warrant if a person voluntarily gives permission for law enforcement officials to do so.

Contact Our Aurora Drug Charges Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with a drug-related offense, The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can review the circumstances of your arrest and determine whether police officers performed an illegal search. We will fight to make sure any evidence that was obtained through illegal search and seizure will not be used in your case. To get the defense you need, contact our Kane County criminal defense attorney at 847-488-0889 and schedule a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does-0

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/unreasonable_search_and_seizure

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/amendment-4/search-incident-to-arrest

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Avvo Illinois State Bar Association Kane COunty Bar Association
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