As you may know, you have constitutional rights that protect you against any unreasonable search and seizure. That means there are restrictions on how the police can invade your privacy, look for, and seize any kind of property, including illegal drugs. Outlined in the Bill of Rights, this protection is found in the 4th Amendment:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
So how do you know if this 4th Amendment right was violated? It takes more than an invasion of your privacy for a search to be illegal. There has to be a "legitimate expectation of privacy" that was violated. Officers can still go through a legal search, even if they do not have a warrant. For example, the search and seizure was legal if you gave the officer permission to search you or your property. If the standard of privacy is not recognized by society, then there was not a violation either. You cannot legitimately expect the front of your car to be private. If illicit drugs were left in the front seat and an officer passes by, he or she can seize them, no warrant necessary. The evidence was lying "in plain view."
An officer can also make a warrantless search if it is made immediately following an arrest. Other urgent situations allow for such searches. If the police chase someone into his or her house, they can seize any illicit drugs found. If an officer checks someone for injuries after a car accident, and drugs fall out of that person's pockets, the officer can take those drugs as evidence. Of course, if they have a warrant outlining what they can search for, then the police search is legal. It is also important to know that this only applies to government agencies. Private security is not bound by this amendment.
What happens if your 4th Amendment rights were violated? An experienced drug crimes lawyer can make a motion to suppress the evidence that was unlawfully seized. If this motion succeeds, then the prosecution cannot use any of that evidence against you. The court would also have to throw out of the case any evidence that directly stemmed from that illegal search. For example, if police found a stash of illegal drugs because they illegally seized a map to find it, then both the map and the drugs would not be admissible as evidence. This might deplete the prosecution's argument. It could be the defense you need to overcome your charges. It will not mean an automatic case dismissal; however, it still is a powerful defense in the hands of a skilled drug crimes attorney.
Whenever you face these offenses, you will want to find a successful lawyer for drug charges in Houston. You could be looking at years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and life with a criminal record if you do not find an aggressive defense. Mark Morasch has more than 15 years of legal experience, and for 5 years in a row, H Texas Magazine named him one of Houston's Top Lawyers. You could have a former prosecutor fighting on your behalf. To find out what Mark Morasch, Attorney at Law can do for you; do not wait to fill out a
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