The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What Is an Illegal Search in Monmouth County?

In many criminal prosecutions evidence is admitted at trial that is the result of a search and seizure. If that search was conducted illegally, however, the evidence obtained as a result of that search cannot be admitted at trial. Only an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of your case to determine if an illegal search occurred; however, understanding what an illegal search in Monmouth County is, in general, may make you question the search in your criminal case.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:

“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.”

The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. Over the years, the Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, has slowly narrowed the protection of the 4th Amendment; however, it still retains much of its strength. Your home, in particular, remains fairly well protected by the 4th Amendment, meaning that in most cases the police need a valid search warrant in order to enter and search your home. There are some exceptions to this requirement, consent being the most widely used exception. If you consent to a search of your home there is no need for the police to obtain a warrant.

To obtain a warrant the police must have probable cause to believe that evidence of illegal activity will be found in the place to be searched. A judge must then be convinced that probable cause exists and must sign the search warrant. The warrant itself must particularly describe the place to be searched and describe the items to be seized. For instance, a search warrant for stolen automobiles would not allow the police to look in your medicine cabinet where a car will clearly not fit.

There are a virtually endless number of ways in which a search can be conducted illegally. The police frequently overstep their legal boundaries. When they do, any evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search can be suppressed by your attorney. If a judge is convinced that an illegal search and seizure occurred, all evidence obtained during that search may be ruled inadmissible at trial.

To learn more, please download our free Illegal Search and Seizure of Your Home report.

If you  are facing criminal charges in Monmouth County and you believe the police conducted an illegal search as part of your case, consult with an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your legal options.


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