Tag Archives: search warrant

St. Charles drug crime defense attorney

Many drug possession charges and other criminal charges are the results of law enforcement officers searching the defendant’s property. Being the subject of a police search can be extremely stressful and confusing. When a police officer asks to search your property, do you have the right to deny the request? Your rights regarding searches of your personal property can vary depending on the circumstances, so it is crucial to understand the Illinois laws regarding search and seizure. If you are charged with a crime because drugs or other contraband are found on your property, and the search was not conducted legally, the evidence discovered in the search may not be admissible in court.

Police Searches of Your Home

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution places limits on when and how law enforcement can search an individual, his or her property, or seize contraband and other items. The Constitution states, “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…” However, in most instances, a police officer may not search or seize an individual or his or her property unless the officer has a valid search warrant signed by a judge or a valid arrest warrant. In some situations, the legal concept of “exigent circumstances” gives police the right to search a home without a warrant. A law enforcement officer has the authority to enter a home or perform a warrantless search if there is a risk of imminent danger, contraband is in plain sight, the evidence is being destroyed, or a suspect is attempting to escape.

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fourth amendment, your rights, privacy, search and seizure, search warrantThe first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution is known as the Bill of Rights. Under the Bill of Rights, Americans are guaranteed certain fundamental rights that protect them from government intervention into their personal affairs. Among those rights is the Fourth Amendment right protecting a person against unreasonable search and seizure.

The Fourth Amendment also requires that a warrant, based upon probable cause, must be issued by an impartial magistrate before the government is allowed to search any persons house, papers, or “effects.” However, there are few exceptions to this rule, which allow law enforcement into your home without a warrant, such as emergency circumstances or consent.

 The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a reasonable expectation of privacy also exists in those areas immediately surrounding a house or dwelling, known as the curtilage. This means that law enforcement cannot come up to an individual’s windows and peer in with hopes of finding contraband or incriminating evidence. It has always been within the rights of law enforcement to walk up to a person’s door and knock, looking to speak with the someone inside. However, the Supreme Court had never spoken to those times when law enforcement walks up to an individuals door with a narcotics dog and knocks, looking to speak to someone inside, until 2013 in Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409 (2013).

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