The fourth amendment helps protect you from illegal searches and seizures. The police cannot just enter your home and start looking around for things. A search has to be conducted in a proper way if they want to find evidence. If you suspect that your rights have been violated, it may be time to contact an Astoria criminal defense lawyer from our firm.
Cops can only search your property in the following circumstances:
When you consent: If the police ask you if they can search your car or your home, you can say yes or no. If you consent to a search, they can start looking through whatever they want. They have to be upfront about this though. The cops cannot try to trick or deceive someone in order to get their consent to a search.
When they have a warrant: When cops are not given permission to look through someone’s property, they have to go and get a warrant. They have to show a judge that they have probable cause and then they can be issued a document that allows them to perform the search they want to perform.
When there are exigent circumstances: Sometimes the police will claim that “exigent circumstances” allowed them to enter a property without a warrant or owner’s consent. They may claim that they saw someone potentially ditching evidence through a window. They can claim that they heard screams or sounds of struggle. If they enter the premises and find evidence of a crime in plain sight, they can collect it and use it against someone.
We recommend that you deny the cops permission to search your property and instead wait for them to get a warrant. A warrant is usually limited in scope. It can give cops permission to look for something specific in a certain piece of property. For example, the cops may be allowed to search a car for a weapon or a home for drugs and drug paraphernalia.
It is important to remember that cops may have some latitude when they are searching your property though, even when a warrant is specific. If they are looking for evidence of a crime and find something illegal in plain sight, that can be used against you.
If the cops are asking to search your property and going to the effort to obtain a warrant, you are on their radar for some reason. It may be wise to contact a criminal defense attorney to see what can be done. A lawyer can communicate with the cops on your behalf, potentially stopping you from saying anything incriminating. Your attorney can also defend you if you are charged with something.
If you are being suspected of a crime or you are already facing charges, contact Vasilou Law. We can tell you more about what a criminal defense attorney can do to assist you.