Understanding Search and Seizure

The U.S. Constitution is there to protect the rights of its citizenry. One of these rights is that of privacy, and the provisions are found mainly in the Fourth Amendment, although some may also be found in other amendments. One of these provisions is the search-and-seizure in which the police have limited power to search an individual’s person, property, and effects and to seize any illegal goods such as weapons and drugs.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits all “unreasonable” searches and seizures by law enforcement. These are defined as searches and seizures where there is no probable cause and no warrant issued by a judge. In some instances, a warrant may not be necessary, such as when contraband is in plain view.

The Fourth Amendment is only applicable in a search-and-seizure if the defendant has a “legitimate expectation of privacy.” This usually refers to private property such as a home or personal effects such as a handbag, but it may also be applicable in public places such as a mall bathroom.

To determine if there has been a Fourth Amendment violation, the court establishes if the legitimate expectation of privacy applies in the absence of a valid search warrant. According to the website of criminal defense lawyers Kohler Hart Powell, SC, if this expectation exists, then any evidence collected in that particular search is excluded and may not be used against the defendant. This also includes any other evidence discovered or seized as the result of the earlier illegal search, the so-called “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

However, there are always exceptions to the rule. If the police officer has reason to suspect that an individual may be in possession of illegal goods, or if the illegal goods was in plain sight, then any evidence seized may be used as such in a court of law even in the absence of a search warrant.

If you have been charged with a crime as a result of an illegal search-and-seizure, you have a good chance of having your case dismissed. The help of a qualified lawyer can prove fundamental in this kind of cases.

Read More

Criminal Defense: Uphold Your Rights in Court

It is one of the most important things, in law, to uphold the rights of every individual in court. In this day and age, there is quite a lot of fascination with lawsuits of a criminal nature – thanks to the romantic interpretation of recent media – and this has led a lot of people to believe that lives can just return to normal afterward. Why, there’s even a show called “How to Get Away with Murder”. A lot of shows and films and books can glorify and romanticize the notion of a court room battle that involves a criminal charge without understanding the kind of stress, pain, and taint that it can bestow on a person’s life.

The website of the Bruno Law Offices says that these charges are of no laughing matter. Some states even still practice the death penalty, if the accused is found guilty by the jury. Due to media influence, the court room has never been quite the same ever again. Jurors are more often influenced by the glorified court room debacles without understanding the kind of profound effects it can have on a person.

That is why it is of the utmost importance to have proper, legal representation in order to have the fairest and most honorable trial for you. Some of the time, it is speculation or agenda that is given priority in court cases – and not the people behind the stand. After all, a criminal charge could follow you for the rest of your life, thereby staining your record. Professional and educational opportunities will be closed to you, if you have even a criminal accusation staining your record; not even to mention the kind of social stigma that surrounds someone who has had to go through this kind of ordeal.

Legal pursuits are a messy, complicated business – and they require the expert handling of professional hands and minds in order to make sure that the case is fair and dealt with as smoothly, cleanly, and honorably as possible.

Read More