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What makes a search and seizure illegal?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

To make a case for an arrest, police officers need proof. A search and seizure of one’s body, property or vehicle is a customary practice in criminal cases, but it can’t just happen based on feeling. Meaning you might be a victim of an unlawful search if you come home to a mess made during an unannounced raid or a police officer enters your vehicle without warning.

The Fourth Amendment

An illegal search goes against a constitutional right, more specifically, The Fourth Amendment. A lawful search will involve one or all three things: direct consent from the individual, a warrant signed by a judge or probable cause. So, if you didn’t agree to a search, you haven’t seen a warrant or can’t seem to find a good reason a search took place, it’s crucial to ask a legal professional if they think a police officer disregarded your constitutional right. It’s also important to note that even with a warrant, missteps can happen.

Following a warrant

A warrant won’t always allow for a search of an entire property and has strict stipulations. If a police officer goes through rooms or spaces not listed and collects evidence, this evidence isn’t usable. Police officers must enter areas with warrants only when specified on the form and typically with a proper introduction of who they are and what they are about to do. Specifically, searches and seizures in California should take place within 10 days of receiving a signed warrant and only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Challenging an arrest

To move forward, it will require legally acquired evidence on your end. Talking with an attorney well-versed in criminal defense can help you set up a solid foundation for your case.