Law Office of Matthew T. McNally Articles Unreasonable Search and Seizures

Unreasonable Search and Seizures

By Law Office of Matthew T. McNally  Aug. 19, 2010 8:40p

How an Illegal Search & Seizure May Affect Your Criminal Case

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution outlines a person's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures by law enforcement. To conduct a lawful search of a person and/or his or her property, state or federal law enforcement agents must have probable cause. This may be established by obtaining a valid search warrant or may exist in some situations where law enforcement has reason to believe (more than just a suspicion or "hunch") that a crime is currently being committed. Conducting a search and recovering evidence without having established probable cause may mean that the evidence obtained will be in admissible in court. Understanding the ins and outs of search and seizures is therefore an important issue to consider in the field of criminal defense.

For example, let's say that Joe is facing marijuana possession charges. A police officer found a bag of marijuana in the glove compartment of Joe's car. Joe may now be in danger of facing criminal charges and harsh penalties if he is convicted. When Joe hires a criminal defense attorney, his attorney takes care to thoroughly investigate every aspect of Joe's drug possession charges, including the manner in which the drug evidence was discovered, gathered and processed. In doing so, the attorney discovers that the police officer did not have probable cause to search the glove compartment of Joe's car. The officer had pulled Joe over for speeding and searched the glove box without Joe's permission. Joe's attorney may be able to use this fact to file a motion to suppress evidence. If the motion is successful, the marijuana the officer recovered may not be used as direct evidence against Joe in court.

This is a very basic example of how an unreasonable search and seizure may be used by your Atlanta criminal defense lawyer. To find out more about your particular case and the services that our law firm can provide to you, feel free to call the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally at any time or contact us online. We are here to help.

Contact an Atlanta Criminal Attorney at our firm today.

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