The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides the fundamental protections limiting law enforcement’s power in conducting unreasonable searches of people and their property and unreasonable seizures of illegal contraband. If your Jacksonville criminal attorney can successfully argue a Fourth Amendment violation, it may be possible to exclude evidence and significantly weaken or terminate the prosecution’s case against you.
Although the grounds for the issuance of a search warrant can be challenged as well as the scope of what was seized pursuant to that warrant, the majority of arrests are the result of warrantless searches. Under these circumstances, the district attorney has the burden of proof to show the search was legal. In deciding search and seizure cases, courts must balance law enforcement’s legitimate interest in detecting and preventing crime with a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
It must be proved the police had probable cause to believe you committed a crime or had evidence of a crime in your possession.
Expectation of Privacy
Fourth Amendment issues only apply if, at the time of the search, you had an actual expectation of privacy and, as a Jacksonville criminal attorney emphasizes, that expectation was reasonable under all the facts and circumstances.
Issues to Consider
Some factors to determine whether search and seizure may be an issue in your case include:
- Were you stopped by police? Were you subsequently arrested? Did the police take anything from you? When did they do so?
- Did the police inspect any personal property of yours? Did they ask your permission before doing so?
- Did the police examine any part of your body or take samples of blood, hair, or urine?
- Did the police search the immediate area you were in when stopped? Were you in your car? Someone else’s car? Were you in your home? Someone else’s home?
- Did the police intercept or monitor any communications, such as private conversations, telephone calls, or emails?
Contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney for Legal Advice
If it is possible to suppress any evidence illegally seized, it may also be possible to exclude other evidence found as a result. If you have been arrested or are currently under investigation, you need to understand your rights and explore your potential options. Begin with a call to Canan Law, a Jacksonville criminal attorney, at (904) 849-2266.