Illegal Search and Seizure in Drug Cases
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, §7 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that every citizen has the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. The law is designed to prevent local police departments, federal agents, and other affiliated government entities from overreaching their authority and invading your privacy without proper justification. Generally, this places the burden on police to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to search your person or property.
In essence, probable cause is exactly what it sounds like. If a police officer looking at the situation presented to them has enough evidence or suspicion that a crime has taken place or is presently happening, they may act accordingly. For as simple as it sounds, this is one of the most contentious areas in criminal defense. The general rule described above requires a warrant to search, however, there are certain situations called exigent circumstances that allow police to legally search or seize your person or property without a warrant. Some common scenarios include:
- You have provided investigating officers with consent to search your car, house, property or person.
- There are illicit or illegal goods in plain view of the inspecting officer. This can include drugs, alcohol or weapons.
- Police in the process of a legal arrest, were inspecting your person or property for dangerous items that may cause them harm.
- The search was conducted on a piece of property or item that you could not reasonably expect privacy – such as a garbage can on the curb or an abandoned vehicle.
Contact the Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Baker Associates as soon as possible to review your options and begin building a proper defense. The number to call is (615) 422-6790.