Dealing with a criminal charge may mean taking a look at your actions and those of the police. When mounting a defense, your attorney may want to review the details to ensure the authorities followed protocol, such as conducting a legal search.
When the police want to try and find information supporting a theory of a crime, they may attempt to skirt your civil rights. One thing that the police may attempt to do is take a look at your possessions without going through legal channels. Look at what constitutes an illegal search so you can assert your rights in court.
Did the police ask you permission?
A popular way for the police to gather evidence is to ask. If an officer asked to search your vehicle or home, and you allowed them, the items found may still not go against you in court. The Fourth Amendment directs the police to get written legal permission. This comes from the judge in the form of a search warrant.
What is a search warrant?
A search warrant is a legal document that allows the authorities to search and take evidence. Only a judge can issue one, and it is not something the police come by easily. The police must go before the judge and present reasons they believe you committed a crime and that you may try and get rid of any evidence if the police do not obtain it first. The judge may also limit where the police can search and what they may look for.
If the police see evidence of a crime without a warrant, they may have the right to use it against you. Absent a search warrant or other legal means; however, you may find yourself using an improper and illegal search as grounds for a defense.