SEARCH & SEIZURE
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures as well as police brutality. If your home, car, or other property has been illegally searched and you are facing a charge based on evidence gathered in that search, you need an experienced civil rights trial lawyer on your side.
Minnesota Unlawful Search & Seizure Attorney
As a civil rights lawyer practicing in Minnesota and beyond, I am a leader in the field of civil rights law, with one of my main focuses being protecting people against illegal searches and seizures. Although cases involving unlawful searches and seizures can be very difficult to win and take hundreds or thousands of hours to properly prosecute, I've achieved success in this area and am committed for the long haul.
What is unlawful search and seizure by police officers?
Unlawful search and seizure refers to a search or seizure conducted by law enforcement without a warrant, without probable cause, or without an individual's consent, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." It is intended to protect individuals from arbitrary invasions by the government.
Here is a more detailed explanation of key concepts related to unlawful search and seizure:
1. Search: A search, in the legal sense, occurs when government officials or agents violate a person's reasonable expectation of privacy. This can occur in many different contexts, such as when law enforcement officers physically search a person or their property, or when they use technology to investigate a person's private affairs (like wiretapping a phone or accessing private emails).
2. Seizure: A seizure refers to the act of law enforcement officials taking property, including evidence, contraband, or personal property, based on the belief that the law has been violated. A seizure also occurs when police officers detain a person or restrict their freedom of movement.
3. Warrant: In many cases, law enforcement officers must first obtain a search warrant before conducting a search or seizure. A warrant is a document issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person, location, or vehicle for evidence of a crime and to confiscate any evidence they find. To obtain a warrant, law enforcement officers must show probable cause, meaning they must have facts or evidence that suggest a crime has been committed.
4. Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement: There are several exceptions to the warrant requirement. For example, a search or seizure may be lawful if a person gives voluntary consent, if the search is incident to a lawful arrest, if the items are in plain view, if there are exigent circumstances (such as immediate danger to life or the risk that evidence will be destroyed), or if the search involves a vehicle and there is probable cause to believe it contains evidence of a crime.
If a search or seizure is deemed unlawful, any evidence obtained as a result of that search or seizure cannot be used against a defendant in a criminal case. This is known as the "exclusionary rule." Furthermore, an individual whose rights have been violated may be able to file a civil lawsuit for damages.
Given the complexity of Fourth Amendment law and the many exceptions to the warrant requirement, it's often advisable for individuals who believe they have been subjected to an unlawful search or seizure to consult with an attorney.