Illegal Search and Seizure
Illegal Search and Seizure in Frisco, Texas. What Do I Do?
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police and other government officials. You have a right to privacy that the police cannot violate without following the required procedures. Though this may sound straightforward, the laws surrounding what is an illegal search and seizure in Frisco, Texas are very complex and continually changing.
If you were charged with a crime, determining whether you were subject to an illegal search and seizure can be a game-changer for your case. The government has the burden to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove its case against you, the government needs evidence. The exclusionary rule states that if the police collected their evidence through an illegal search and seizure, the evidence cannot be used in court. Your charges could be lessened, or your case could even be thrown out.
Search Warrant Requirements in Frisco
In general, to search a person or their property, the police must have a valid search warrant. A search warrant is a document signed by a judge which gives the police the right to search a specific place or seize a particular item.
Before a warrant is issued, a judge must find that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that evidence connected to the crime is likely to be found in the particular place described in the warrant. Probable cause means there are specific facts that support the police’s belief that the person committed the crime or there is evidence to be found. Probable cause could come from things such as a signed affidavit or surveillance footage. The police cannot rely only on a hunch or general suspicion.
Just because the police had a search warrant does not automatically mean that the search was legal. Your attorney could challenge the search warrant as being illegal. For example, your attorney could argue that there was insufficient probable cause to support the warrant, there were false statements made in the search warrant affidavit, or the place to be searched was not properly defined.
Exceptions to Search Warrant in Frisco
There are exceptions to the search warrant requirement in Frisco, Texas. Under these exceptions, the police may search or seize a person or their property without first asking a judge for a search warrant.
- Search During Arrest
When the police arrest a person, they are permitted to search that person and the area within their immediate control. These warrantless searches are allowed to prevent the destruction of evidence and prevent the arrestee from accessing a weapon. Police are not allowed free reign during the search; it must be contained to the person and the area in their immediate control. If you are arrested in your downstairs living room, the police cannot rummage through your closet upstairs without a warrant.
- Consent Search
You are never obligated to consent to a search. However, if you freely and voluntarily let the police into your home, car, or another private place, you have consented to the search, and the search is legal. Your roommate or spouse could also give the police permission to search your home, as long as the police believe that that person has the authority to consent. You can take away or limit your consent at any time.
- Plain View
If the police are permitted to be somewhere, such as the public or your home with consent, they can legally seize any illegal items that they can see in plain view without a warrant.
- Emergency Circumstances
The police may not need a warrant if they believe that someone will be harmed or criminal evidence will be destroyed. For example, if the police are in pursuit of an armed suspect, they may not need a warrant to search the homes in the area.
- Motor Vehicle Search
The police may search your vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that there is illegal contraband in the car. This means that if the police pull you over for speeding and smell marijuana, they are permitted to search your car. However, the police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant simply because you blew a stop sign.
What Should I Do If I Am Stopped By The Police?
If you are stopped by the police in Frisco, it is important to stay calm and know your rights. You have the right to remain silent, the right to calmly leave if you are not arrested, and the right to an attorney if you are arrested. The police have no duty to inform you that you have a right not to consent to a search.
Contact a Frisco Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one believe that you have been the victim of an illegal search and seizure in the Frisco area, you should contact the Law Offices of Philip D. Ray. Philip D. Ray is a criminal defense attorney with the expertise to know if an illegal search and seizure occurred and will work to prevent illegally obtained evidence from being used against you. Call the Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (469) 588-6770.