Though the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits it, illegal search and seizure is a reality that can lead to criminal charges. If you have been accused of a crime because of evidence seized in an illegal search, then you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to investigate your case and show that the police violated your rights.
When police seize evidence in a criminal investigation, the manner in which the evidence is collected is extremely important. Procedural protections are in place to help ensure that warrantless searches, entrapment and illegal wiretaps do not result in criminal charges, and often investigators fail to meet procedural requirements.
When it can be shown that evidence was seized through an illegal search, the evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court. To prove this, however, you’ll need an attorney who is familiar with police procedure and the requirements that investigators must meet to legally collect evidence from any of the following:
- Cell phones
- Business files
- Property such as your clothing, vehicle or home
- Your person
Illegal searches can result in charges related to any of the following crimes:
- Internet sex crimes, including possession or distribution of child pornography
- White collar crimes such as mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud
- Drug crimes
- Human trafficking
The basic thing to understand in these matters is that authorities must have probable cause to search you or your property. In some cases, officers have conducted searches that were not relevant to the cause for an arrest, and consequently the seized evidence was not admissible in court. For example, if you are suspected of driving on a suspended license, then the arresting officer does not automatically have a right to search your vehicle for drugs. The officer must have probable cause to conduct such a search.
Likewise, in white collar crime investigations, authorities sometimes delve into certain kinds of documents without probable cause to do so.
The burden of proving that a search was legal falls on the prosecution, and attorneys at Sindel, Richard H. Sindel, Inc., P.C., work to place that burden fully on the prosecutor by exploring every available option for challenging the legality of a search and seizure.