As a citizen, you have many rights protected under the United States Constitution. Many are unaware that these rights extend to those suspected of criminal activity. One of the most important, the Fourth Amendment, protects the rights of citizens from unlawful searches and seizures of their person and property. If you’re subjected to a search and seizure, understanding your rights during the process is vital. The following blog explores what the police can do and how an OKC criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate these circumstances if the police search you or your property.
What Does Search and Seizure Mean in a Criminal Context?
In legal matters, a search and seizure is used to describe the act of law enforcement investigating a person’s home, business, or other property to look for evidence of a crime. A seizure refers to collecting the evidence discovered at these locations.
For example, if law enforcement has reason to believe someone has drugs in their home, they may investigate and search the property to locate this evidence. If it’s discovered, they can remove it from the property and keep it in their custody as evidence.
What Can the Police Do?
The police, when they have a warrant to search your home, can only look in the areas covered under the warrant. For example, they are only allowed to search for the list of items in the warrant, such as drugs or weapons. However, if something is left in plain view of the officers, like a stolen item, they may seize this as it is evidence of a crime.
If the police do not have a warrant, they can search a property under exigent circumstances or with the consent of the property owner. For example, if they hear screaming from inside a home, it warrants an emergency situation in which they would not have to wait for a warrant.
What Are My Rights?
If the police do not have a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances to search your home, they cannot conduct a search on your property.
It’s also important to understand that if you are the victim of an illegal search and seizure, an experienced attorney can help prove that the evidence collected was in direct violation of your constitutional rights. As such, it is possible that the evidence could be excluded from trial, resulting in the dismissal of your case.
If the police show up and ask to search your home without a warrant, it’s in your best interest not to consent. You should also contact an experienced attorney immediately, as they can help you proceed.
At the Jones Firm, PLLC, our dedicated legal team will do everything possible to help you navigate the complexities of a search and seizure by the police. We will work tirelessly to help you come up with the best possible defense to achieve the most desirable outcome for your unique circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through this process.