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What is an Illegal Search and Seizure? 

Posted on in Criminal Defense

aurora defense lawyerSearch warrants allow police officers to safely search your person and property in order to gather criminal evidence. At the same time, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the American people from unreasonable searches. When police searches are done without reasonable cause, any discovered evidence discovered may be thrown out at trial. Defendants facing criminal charges after an officer found criminal evidence in a search should be aware of what constitutes a legal search and what steps to take if their search and seizure were illegal. 

What Circumstances Allow for a Search and Seizure?

If the officer has reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, they are permitted to search you for drugs, weapons, or other criminal evidence. A lawful search is meant to protect the officer, limit your ability to escape, and allow the officer to find evidence of a crime. The searches must always be done within reason. 

Police typically need a search warrant to search a person’s home, but there are several exceptions to this rule - including situations in which evidence is in plain sight. Search warrants must be approved by a judge. To gain approval, the officer must provide justification that proves the defendant is involved in a crime and that a search would likely yield evidence to support that involvement. It is required for all search warrants to be conducted within 96 hours of approval.

There are other manners in which police officers may gain access to your home or property. For instance, if you consent to a search, the warrant requirement will be waived. Exigent circumstances may also waive the need for a search warrant. When there is not enough time to get a warrant prior to evidence being destroyed or people’s safety being jeopardized, exigent circumstances will allow for a search. The law affords a lesser degree of privacy when it comes to vehicle searches. 

Was The Search And Seizure Illegal?

Search limitations are put in place by the U.S. Constitution to protect citizens’ privacy and security against invasions. Illegal searches performed by police officers are one of the most common reasons for suppressed evidence and dismissed charges in a criminal case, specifically in drug possession cases. 

 If you are charged with a drug crime after an officer performs an unlawful search, a lawyer can help you avoid the conviction by getting the evidence excluded from the trial. In other cases, a court may decide to suppress evidence if the warrant was missing significant details. Additionally, if an officer oversteps the scope of the search warrant, the court may deem that the evidence was illegally obtained. 

Contact an Aurora, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you believe that you were charged with a drug crime due to an officer performing an unlawful search and seizure, there are steps you can take to combat these charges. It is recommended that you write down all of the details immediately after the search, including the time and place, the officer’s name and badge number, and the type of car the officer was driving. 

Once you have documented this information, it is highly suggested that you contact a criminal defense attorney who can use your gathered information to fight these charges. If your home or property was searched without a warrant or probable cause, a Kane County criminal defense attorney can use this illegal search as a strong starting point to get your charges dismissed. Contact The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola to schedule your free consultation by calling 847-488-0889. 

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=10300000&SeqEnd=11900000

 

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