Many people mistakenly believe that police officers have the right to search any person or property when they deem necessary. However, this could not be less true. Police officers have certain restrictions in order to properly conduct a search and legally seize evidence. Here’s what you need to know about illegal search and seizure and how this can be used in your defense.
No Probable Cause to Pull You Over
If you were pulled over and your person and/or your vehicle searched, any evidence obtained can be omitted if the police never had probable cause to pull you over. For example, if you were not weaving in and out of your lane, were not disobeying any traffic laws, did not have expired tags, or did not have a taillight out, it’s possible that it can be legally determined that the police never had the right to pull you over at all.
No Probable Cause to Search Your Person or Property
If the police wish to search your person or your property, they must first have probable cause to do so. This means there is enough evidence in plain view for them to believe a crime occurred or is in progress. For example, if the police see drug paraphernalia, this gives them probable cause to search. If you allow the police into your home and they see drug paraphernalia, a firearm that you cannot legally possess, or anything else suspicious, they would have probable cause to search your entire home.
No Search Warrant
Police can also request a search warrant from a judge if they have enough evidence to believe a person committed a crime. This is often done in criminal cases versus traffic or DUI cases. They would inform the judge why they believe a crime was committed. The judge would then issue the warrant. Once a warrant is obtained, the police have the right to search the premises and/or person(s) listed in the warrant. If the police do not have a warrant, you cannot stop them from searching your property. However, evidence obtained during the search could be omitted from court.
If you believe the police conducted an illegal search and seizure in your case, you need an experienced Riverside criminal defense attorney. Call for a consultation at 951-384-7375.