Searches allow police officers to find evidence or possibly take a suspect into custody. Seizures are when police lawfully take property either as evidence or because that property will soon be forfeited due to its involvement in or relationship to criminal activity.
Unfortunately, sometimes, police officers violate people’s rights when they conduct searches or take their property. It can be difficult to stand up for yourself in the moment when confronted by police officers misbehaving. All too often, victims of police misbehavior only realize what happens when they reconsider the situation later.
The following three examples are all common scenarios that involve improper searches, which could impact someone’s criminal defense strategy.
Police enter your home without permission or a warrant
Police usually try to get a warrant before they need to do a search or they try to trick a property owner or someone who lives with them into letting them into the house.
If the police don’t have a warrant and they don’t have permission, the only way they can legally enter your home is if they suspect a crime in progress. Unfortunately, some officers will push their way into your home or try to fabricate a situation that justifies their entries after the fact.
Police search your body due to racial profiling
Your right to bodily sovereignty is one of your most important legal protections. The police can’t just search your person without justifiable cause for doing so. Sadly, some officers target members of certain racial groups and will try to search or frisk them without any real justification.
Only in situations where police suspect the presence of a weapon or have probable cause to suspect a crime do they have the right to conduct a non-consensual search up someone’s body during a traffic stop.
Police search your yard or garage without permission
The outdoor spaces on your property still have some expectation of privacy, especially if you use them as living space or an extension of your home itself. Police searches that involve the curtilage around your home may be a violation of your rights.
Improper and illegal searches and seizures can impact what evidence the state can use against you or even impact whether the state can bring charges at all. Those who become victims of inappropriate police seizures or searches may need to go to court to protect themselves or regain their property.