Your rights to privacy and property can be temporarily overridden by the police. If you are suspected of committing a criminal violation and there is “reasonable” cause to think as much, then law enforcement agents can conduct a search and seizure of your person and property. During such a situation, the police are only supposed to seize property with clear connections to the suspected criminal activity.
The strength of your rights to privacy and property is considerable, though. There are many circumstances in which the police cannot just barge into your home and start searching, or stop you on the street for a pat down. To secure the legal ability to conduct a reasonable search where criminal evidence is less compelling or obvious, the police will need to ask a judge to approve a search warrant.
When a search warrant is created, it needs to be highly specific about what can be search and seized, and why. For example, if you were suspected of transporting illegal drugs, the search warrant should say something about searching your vehicles, but not necessarily your home. Furthermore, the police should not be taking anything from your vehicle unrelated to the suspected drug crime, even if the object discovered appears to be criminal in nature, like a firearm. If the police unreasonably search outside of the search warrant’s expanse, then any evidence they collect could be invalid and any property they collect should be returned to you.
When Police Act Outside Their Legal Limits
Even an honest police officer can misunderstand their ability to search and seize property in pursuit of criminal evidence. Or, in more nefarious situations, a law enforcement agent may knowingly violate your rights to try to secure property with links to a criminal violation. No matter the reason why it occurs, when your rights are unjustly overstepped, you need to take steps to make things right.
Come to the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. and work with our Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney today. Throughout his decorated career, Attorney Evan Zelig has been able to successfully represent thousands of people. We have the experience and insight needed to challenge unjust searches and seizures, eliminate sources of evidence collected wrongfully, return your property, and uphold your rights.
Contact us at (707) 418-5352 to arrange a free consultation with our team.