The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution shields Americans’ privacy. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. This means that if the police wish to search you or your property, they need to get permission from a judge, after providing that judge with evidence showing that criminal activity has probably occurred.
The judge doesn’t automatically issue warrants when the police for them.
The Exclusionary Rule
An illegal search or illegal seizure is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, and any evidence seized must be excluded from trial. Even if that evidence is very damaging to your defense, it cannot be considered (or even mentioned to the jury).
Does this mean that all searches conducted without a warrant are invalid? No, not at all. A warrantless search will be valid—and any evidence obtained from the search will be allowed in trial—if the search falls within one of several well recognized exceptions. The burden is upon the prosecution to prove an exception exists.
This Is Tricky Stuff-Can You Really Handle It On Your Own?
If you've been charged with a crime as a result of a police search, it's important to hire a criminal defense attorney who's familiar with these highly technical legal concepts. If a judge decides a search is invalid, the evidence from it will be thrown out, and- here's the best part- the charges could be dismissed. This is particularly true in drug possession cases.
If you wish to discuss this with the attorneys of Holland & Usry, please contact us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.