What makes a search illegal?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The Constitution provides fundamental rights to shield you from overactive police activities. One of the most widely cited examples is the protection against illegal search and seizure.

Understanding what makes a search by police illegal may help you assert your rights if necessary. Take some time to familiarize yourself with how the police should operate within the context of the Fourth Amendment.

What constitutes search and seizure?

Under the law, a search occurs when the police go through your personal property during an investigation. Seizure happens when the police take items they believe may tie you to a crime. The police may place you under arrest after a search depending on the circumstances.

What does the law require for a legal search?

While the police have some latitude when it comes to observation, a legal search is different. To ensure evidence gathered remains above the board, the police should obtain a search warrant granting access without your permission. A judge may not issue a warrant if the police do not provide probable cause that you have committed a crime. A search warrant may restrict the police to search specific areas or items.

What renders a search illegal in court?

If you refuse a police officer’s request to conduct a search without a warrant, and the action continues, a judge may exclude anything discovered. Even if the police have a warrant, searching outside the parameters set by the judge may prove detrimental to the case. While there are emergencies where police may proceed without a warrant, the scope is narrow and may still result in a judge rejecting evidence.

When facing allegations of criminal activity, you may have the standing to ask the court to toss out evidence obtained illegally.


FindLaw Network