Search and Seizure

The 4th amendment in the United States Constitution protects persons against illegal search of their person and seizure of their property. The Law Enforcement Officers cannot perform search and seizures without a warrant. However, they can perform reasonable searches and seizures given the exceptions such as vehicle search, search incident to arrest, exigent circumstances (officer safety and evidence preservation), and evidence in plain view. However, the Law Enforcement Officers need a probable cause before initiating a search. They have to ascertain whether an individual committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Exclusionary rule, however, protects the individuals from illegal search and seizures if the Law Enforcement Officers did not have a legitimate probable cause. Therefore, the evidence has to be excluded from trial. In addition, any evidence derived from the initial evidence also becomes inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree”. Courts also use the degree of privacy expected by an individual and how reasonable that expectation of privacy is to determine of the search and seizure is legal and reasonable.

There are instances when the State has other admissible evidence to attack the credibility of a defendant. To determine whether the search and seizure was illegal, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible for an assessment of you case. Contact Stewart Law Firm at 850-689-4529 for a free consultation today if you are facing legal issues.

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