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Posted on in Search Warrant

b2ap3_thumbnail_warrant.jpgIllinois police will be authorized to perform a search and seizure for a number of different crimes, including suspicion of drug possession and/or sale. However, there are rules that officers must follow in order to legally perform their duties.

Officers are not permitted to simply enter a private home without a warrant for the search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a person in their own home from unreasonable searches.

What Is an Illegal Search and Seizure?

The Fourth Amendment says that a person is safe in the privacy of their home, documents, and effects from seizure and that no warrants will be issued unless there is probable cause for the search. This differs from the early days of the amendment when “general warrants” were issued and homes could be searched with no evidence at all.

Now, if the authorities have enough evidence to warrant a reasonable search, they are allowed to do so with the proper documentation.

A search becomes illegal if:

  • The properly documented warrant is not gathered and given to the homeowner prior to the search.
  • The police search personal areas of an apartment with only permission from a landlord or roommates. Legally, the police can search common areas of an apartment with only the landlord’s permission, but they cannot search bedrooms.
  • The police have no probable cause for entering the home or property.

What Can You Do to Defend After an Illegal Seizure?

The first thing to do after an illegal search and seizure is to hire a lawyer to build a case against the law enforcement officers who conducted the search. The victim of the search cannot sue the officers involved because of the “qualified immunity” doctrine which protects government officials while they perform their duties.

A victim can utilize the exclusionary rule which would prevent the government from using evidence obtained in illegal search and seizures. This strategy can protect the victim from criminal charges that would not have been discovered without an illegal search.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is a victim of an illegal search and seizure and are now facing criminal charges, as a result, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola to defend your Fourth Amendment rights. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County search and seizure lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-iv

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

 

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drugs, Kane County drug crimes attorneyAs per the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, police cannot search a person’s private residence without a search warrant issued by a judge. So, if police believe you have illegal items in your home, that suspicion alone is usually not enough to merit a legal search. However, the laws which protect citizens’ privacy are quite different when it comes to motor vehicles. Because we operate vehicles on public roads, police have much more freedom when it comes to searching a person’s car or truck. If police have searched your vehicle and discovered marijuana, amphetamines, opioids, or other illegal drugs, you may be facing harsh criminal consequences.

When Can Police Legally Search a Vehicle?

Although police have more authority to search motor vehicles than homes, they are still required to follow certain rules regarding vehicle searches. An officer cannot stop and search a vehicle without a reasonable cause for doing so.

There are five main ways a police officer is authorized to search someone’s vehicle. Firstly, if the driver of the vehicle gives the officer consent, the officer may search the vehicle. It is important to always politely decline police vehicle searches if given the chance. A search is also permitted If the officer has probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity such as stolen items, drugs, or illegal weapons is in the car. Furthermore, police may search a car if they believe doing so is necessary for their own protection. For example, if police have stopped a vehicle but worry the drivers are armed and dangerous, they may be permitted to search the car for weapons. Police may also search a vehicle after a person is arrested. Lastly, police can search a vehicle if they have a search warrant.

Unwarranted Searches Can Result in Dropped Charges

If police searched your vehicle and discovered illegal drugs in it, make sure to discuss the legality of the search with a qualified criminal attorney. If it can be demonstrated that police did not have a valid reason to search the car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle, the evidence obtained from that search can be thrown out. If the evidence against you is dismissed, the criminal charges will most likely be dropped.

Do Not Face Drug Charges Alone

Illinois law says that those found transporting drugs in their car may face fines, probation, loss of driving privileges, and jail time. Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Illinois, but possessing more than 10 grams of cannabis or having drugs like heroin, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, and barbituric acid/salts can result in much more severe criminal penalties.

If you have been arrested on drug charges, speak to an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule your free initial consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1937&ChapterID=53

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warrant, Kane County criminal defense attorneyIn today’s digitally connected world, information is everywhere. If you need an answer to a question, a few taps on your smartphone can allow you to run a Google search. If you want to contact your friend, you can send him or her an instant message or even connect through video chat instantaneously. The stream of data, however, goes in both directions. Any time that your phone is turned on, it is sending signals to nearby cell towers about your location and whether you are available to receive a call.

Over the last few years, law enforcement agencies have been able to gather information from these signals with little more than a request to the wireless service providers, but a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court says that a warrant must be obtained first.

The Case in Question

In 2013, a Detroit man was convicted on several charges related to armed robberies that had taken place in and around the city. The prosecution’s case was helped by cell phone evidence gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the defendant’s cell phone service carrier. Using the Stored Communication Act, government agents needed only to show the wireless carrier that the information they were requesting was relevant to an ongoing investigation. The government did not believe that a warrant was necessary because they were not pulling the content of calls or messages. Instead, they were looking for location points.

The FBI was able to effectively track the man’s location at any given time over a stretch of more than four months—a task that included more than 13,000 individual points of location. Every time the man’s phone sent or received a location signal from a nearby cell tower, a record was made, and the government obtained access to those records.

At trial and on appeal, the courts refused to suppress the evidence, holding that the man did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy as it pertains his cell phone location records. The man continued his appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case earlier this year.

A Landmark Ruling

Last month, the Supreme Court reached a 5-4 decision to overturn the man’s conviction. The high court held that gathering cell-site location information (CSLI) is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As such, a warrant is required before such data can be obtained by investigators.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal cases have included CSLI evidence over the last two decades. Legal experts believe that the Supreme Court’s ruling will open the door to motions by defendants whose cases included such information. The decision also means that investigators will need more than a simple request letter to obtain CSLI in the future.

We Can Help

If you have been charged with any type of crime and you believe that your Fourth Amendment rights have been compromised, contact a skilled Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/carpenter-v-united-states-supreme-court-digital-privacy/

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

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Elgin criminal defense attorneyIt can be hard to know exactly what your rights are when it comes to police searches. Under federal law, police may only search homes and vehicles under certain circumstances. If a police officer wishes to search your home, he or she will usually need to acquire a search warrant before entering the property. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles do not always necessitate a search warrant. One way police may legally search a person’s vehicle is if the driver gives them permission to do so. Most legal experts believe that citizens should never give police permission to search their vehicle—even if they have nothing to hide.

When Police May Search Your Car

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizure of personal property. In order to legally search a vehicle, police must have a valid reason, a search warrant, or the driver’s permission. More specifically, police may lawfully search a vehicle only if:

  • The driver or owner of the vehicle gives the officer permission to search the vehicle;
  • The police officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence related to a crime in the vehicle;
  • The vehicle was towed and impounded by police;
  • The officer believes a search is necessary to protect his or her own safety; or
  • The driver has been arrested.

Agreeing to a Vehicle Search

If police suspect that a vehicle contains illegal drugs, contraband, hidden weapons, or other evidence of a crime, they may wish to search the vehicle. If there is no probable cause or other reason they may legally search the vehicle, the police may simply ask the driver for permission to search the vehicle. Police often use indirect language to ask permission and may say something like, "You don’t mind if I take a look around, do you?" They may even imply that you do not have a choice in the matter. However, you always have the option to calmly respond, "I do not consent to a search."

Why You Should Not Consent

Even if you have nothing to hide, you should exercise your constitutional right to be free from unnecessary searches because refusing a search protects you if you end up in court. If you decline a search and the officer searches the vehicle anyway, the officer will have to prove in court that there was a good reason, or probable cause, to do so without a warrant. Sometimes, refusing can prevent the search altogether.

Call Us for Help

If you have been accused of a crime based on evidence found during a warrantless search of your car, speak with an experienced Kane County criminal defense lawyer. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 to schedule your confidential consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-morgan/5-reasons-you-should-neve_b_1292554.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

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Posted on in DUI

checkpoint, Elgin criminal defense attorneyAccording to the National Highway Safety Administration, a person dies in a drunk driving-related accident every 50 minutes in the United States. In order to catch those who drink and drive, Illinois police sometimes use DUI checkpoints. These checkpoints usually involve some sort of roadblock which prevents motorists from passing. Police may stop vehicles and ask drivers to perform field sobriety tests or submit to chemical testing, such as a Breathalyzer test. Many individuals are unsure of what their rights are at a DUI checkpoint. Read on to learn what is expected of both motorists and police at these stops.

Probable Cause for Stopping Vehicles

If you are someone with a basic understanding of the law, you may have wondered how police checkpoints are even legal. After all, the U.S Constitution does have rules which prevent police from unreasonable search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment says that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause..." This right to be free from arbitrary seizure of property includes being pulled over while driving. Technically, a police officer does need probable cause to pull someone over and ask them to perform a sobriety test. However, in the case of DUI checkpoints, an exception has been made. The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that the intrusiveness of DUI checkpoints is outweighed by the benefit of decreasing the number of drunk drivers on the road.

Do I Have to Stop at Sobriety Checkpoints?

Motorists should not attempt to evade or drive through a DUI checkpoint without permission. Officers may wave your car through because they often do not stop every car, but if you are asked to stop, do not continue driving. Police can and will chase motorists who disregard their instructions at a roadblock. Though police are allowed to stop you temporarily, they may not legally search you or your vehicle unless you consent to the search or they have probable cause to believe that you are breaking the law. If the police detain you at a checkpoint and smell alcohol on your breath or you are otherwise displaying intoxicated behavior, they will ask you to submit to a field sobriety test and/or a chemical blood alcohol content test. Those who have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) do have the right to refuse a blood alcohol test such as a Breathalyzer, however doing so results in their driver’s license being suspended for a minimum of one year – even if they are not found guilty of a DUI.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

If you have other questions about your rights and responsibilities during a DUI checkpoint, or for help with building a defense against a criminal charge, contact The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Call 847-488-0889 to speak with a skilled Elgin DUI defense attorney today.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-1060.ZS.html

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2009/4thDistrict/February/4080422.pdf

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