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How can you challenge the legality of a search and seizure?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Criminal Law

The police and prosecutors probably need some physical evidence to charge you with criminal wrongdoing and obtain a conviction. In most instances, this evidence isn’t going to be voluntarily handed over to them, which means law enforcement must rely on a properly executed search warrant or valid utilization of an exception to the warrant requirement. Although the police routinely navigate this area of their job, all too often they make mistakes that compromise your Constitutional rights. And when they do, they might illegally seize evidence that leads to an otherwise avoidable conviction.

To avoid that from happening to you, be ready to challenge the search that led to the seizure of incriminating evidence in your case. There are several ways to do that, so let’s take a closer look at how you might be able to raise this argument in your criminal case.

How to suppress evidence based on illegal search and seizure

If you can show that the police violated your constitutional rights by conducting an illegal search and seizure, you might be able to block incriminating evidence from being used against you at trial. Here are some ways that you might be able to successfully show that your rights were violated and suppress that evidence:

  • Show that the warrant was fraudulently obtained: To secure a legally valid search warrant, the police have to demonstrate there’s probable cause that you’ve committed a crime and that the area to be searched contains evidence of that illegal activity. If the police lied to the judge to secure a warrant, or if they exercised a reckless disregard for the truth, you might be able to show that the warrant was secured under false pretenses, and any subsequently gathered evidence is thus tainted by illegality. This can lead to evidence suppression.
  • Demonstrate that the search went beyond the scope of the warrant: A search warrant should be rather specific in identifying the place to be searched and what the police can look for. If law enforcement officers go beyond the scope of the warrant without utilizing a valid exception to the warrant requirement, then they’ve violated your rights.
  • Illustrate improper utilization of a warrant exception: There are a lot of exceptions to the warrant requirement. However, the police can’t just use them whenever they want. They must have articulable justifications that support the use of an exception. If the police can’t appropriately explain their actions in conducting a warrantless search, then you’ll be in a strong position to seek evidence suppression.

If a search and seizure has led to incriminating evidence supporting your criminal charges, then one of your first steps should be analyzing the facts surrounding the warrant application and the search itself. If you find something suspicious, discuss it with your attorney. After all, even something seemingly minor could be the key to unlocking a strong criminal defense that protects your future.

Aggressively fight to protect your rights in your criminal case

Don’t let the police and prosecutors get away with wrongdoing. If you do, then you’ll wind up facing some of the harshest penalties under the law. That’s why before proceeding with your case, you should vet every criminal defense opportunity available so that the best ones can be utilized to protect your future.

That can be stressful to think about, but you can wrap yourself in the support that you need to aggressively fight the criminal charges that have been levied against you and maximize your chances of beating the prosecution.