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Unlawful Searches and Seizures

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Unlawful Searches and Seizures
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UNLAWFUL SEARCHES AND SEIZURES

The Fourth Amendment protects your right to be free of unlawful searches and seizures. When this right is violated, you may find that your civil rights, constitutional rights, and even your property rights have been placed in jeopardy. You have the right to fight back against searches and seizures made without a proper legal basis, and a civil rights attorney can help. 

Challenging the Admissibility of Evidence in Criminal Proceedings

If criminal charges are filed against you, you have the right to challenge the unlawful search or seizure to the criminal court. The Supreme Court has ruled many times that evidence obtained because of an unlawful search or seizure is not admissible against you in a criminal prosecution. Your attorney can file motions to prevent the prosecutor from using any such evidence against you. 

But when, exactly, is a search or seizure unlawful? The Fourth Amendment prevents searches and seizures unless a warrant has been issued by a judge after a showing of probable cause. However: the case law has recognized many exceptions to this rule. If, for example, officers can hear someone yelling for help inside of a house, they may enter the house without a warrant and look for the victim. (This is known as the “exigent circumstances” exception.) They may not search the house for contraband, but any illegal items that are in plain view can be seized if officers are lawfully present inside the home. (This is known as the “plain view” doctrine.) 

There are a huge number of exceptions to the warrant requirement. Prosecutors are skilled in trying to justify searches and seizures, so it is important to hire an experienced defense lawyer who knows how to fight back. This is a critical step toward protecting your constitutional rights. 

Civil Forfeiture Cases

One of the lesser-known consequences of searches and seizures is civil forfeiture. This is a process by which evidence can be forfeited to the state. Often, this is valuable evidence, such as a laptop or a car. It can even be the cash assets of a business. It is important to understand your rights under civil forfeiture to protect your property rights. If you do not follow specific legal procedures, you could permanently lose your property. This can happen even if you are never convicted of a crime. 

Unlawful searches and seizures can give law enforcement officers access to property that becomes the subject of civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture can occur independently of any criminal case against you or a civil rights lawsuit filed against the police agency. You have the right to fight back. The government is required to provide notice to you of civil forfeiture proceedings, and your attorney has the right to fight these proceedings in court. This is a critical step toward protecting your property rights. You may also have the right to file a separate civil lawsuit, and this is a critical step toward protecting your civil rights. 

The Right Joliet Defense Attorney For Unlawful Search and Seizure Issues

The experienced legal team at Pinkston Law Group knows how to fight back against unlawful searches and seizures. Call (773) 770-4771 or visit our website today to schedule your consultation. 

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