According to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, law enforcement officers are prohibited from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. That means that if you are suspected of engaging in criminal activity, law enforcement may not search your home, vehicle, or other property without an official court-issued search warrant. To secure a warrant, the police officer must show probable cause for obtaining the warrant. However, a warrant is unnecessary in some situations, and the evidence obtained can be used against you.
If the search and seizure was done illegally, the evidence obtained may not be admissible in court, and you may take legal action for a violation of your civil rights. A criminal defense lawyer will determine whether the search and seizure was warranted and recommend the most effective defense strategy.
Are There Circumstances When a Search Warrant Is Not Required?
In most cases, a law enforcement officer must obtain a search warrant to perform a search. However, there are circumstances where an officer may conduct a warrantless search, including the following:
- You consent to the search. If you agree to allow the police officer to search your home, vehicle, or property, they may proceed with the search without a warrant. However, you have the legal right to refuse the request. Often, people give consent because they do not think they have a choice. Law enforcement may not threaten or promise any benefit or reward in exchange for your consent.
- There are weapons, drugs, paraphernalia, or other suspicious items in plain view. A police officer does not need a warrant if they observe illegal contraband from a legal vantage point.
- Illegal items are found during a stop-and-frisk. This allows police officers to ensure that a suspect is not armed. Any unlawful items found during this process may be confiscated.
- If you try to escape police custody after committing a crime, police may search the area for weapons or contraband that may have been concealed or abandoned.
- Police generally may search you if it is part of a lawful arrest. However, not all arrests are lawful, so you may be able to challenge a warrantless search. A criminal defense lawyer can assist you with this process.
- If an officer detects alcohol or marijuana at a DUI checkpoint stop, you may be required to submit to a field sobriety test. If you are arrested for a positive test, your vehicle may be impounded and the contents may be searched.
Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients in Cases Involving Unwarranted Search and Seizures
If you were charged with a crime and law enforcement conducted an unwarranted search and seizure, you are urged to contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will thoroughly review the details of your case. To schedule a consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.