Many citizens are unaware of the laws that apply to law enforcement performing a search and seizure of their private property. With this lack of knowledge, the police often expand their legal right to a search and seizure that may result in their need for a drug trafficking defense lawyer in Tampa. If an illegal search and seizure was performed on you, your home, or your vehicle and you were arrested and charged with a drug trafficking crime, please contact a drug trafficking defense attorney in Tampa today.
If you are interested in learning more about your legal rights pertaining to a search and seizure by law enforcement, please read the following two-part article on search warrants and search and seizure laws.
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens’ rights against an unlawful search and seizure. Under the law, law enforcement can only perform a search of private property (person, home, or vehicle) with a valid search warrant, an arrest warrant, or have “probable cause.” We have discussed probable cause before pertaining to if you are stopped by police for questioning. If the authorities have reasonable belief that a crime has been committed or will be committed, they can search you or your property. However, if evidence is obtained without a warrant or probable cause, it should be excluded from the trial.
A search warrant is a court issued order that gives the police consent to engage in a search of a person’s personal property (person, location, and vehicle) to seize any incriminating evidence related to a criminal act. When law enforcement applies for the warrant, they must provide the judge with any relevant information pertaining to the alleged crime including any evidence, probable cause, police observations, or a reliable informant that can detail that a crime was committed. This search warrant should be provided to the property owner before conducting a search and should also define the specific location being searched.
Far too often, police take advantage of their legal authority to enter a property and search well beyond the jurisdiction that their search warrant provides them with the authority to do so. In addition, there are a variety of ways in which law enforcement can perform a search and seizure without the need to fulfill the legal obligations of the Fourth Amendment or probable cause. We will cover some of these reasons in the second section of our article.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.