The Role of Search and Seizure Laws in Drug Crime Cases
The Fourth Amendment was created to protect the personal rights and privacy of American citizens. It gives people the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This law dictates how specific warrants must be sought, made and executed. When dealing with drug cases, this amendment becomes particularly important. How the police find and confiscate the drugs are crucial in any drug crime case. There are a number of factors that determine if the search and seizure of admissible evidence is valid in court.
The Fourth Amendment applies when you have a legitimate expectation of privacy. Did you expect some degree of privacy and was that expectation reasonable? For example, when you are in a public restroom, you expect to have privacy. A hidden camera in a public restroom or in the privacy of a hotel room is not legal police conduct. Did you give “consent” to the officer to search your car? Did the officer conduct a search of your pockets without your permission? Each of these could be a violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights.
If drugs are found in an illegal search, they cannot be used directly as evidence in a criminal prosecution. This is known as the exclusionary rule. While some believe this is an unfair loophole that lets criminals off on a technicality, others believe it is part of our rights as Americans to protect our privacy. The type and quantity of the drugs found dictate how serious the charges could be. If more drugs are found than one person can reasonably have for personal use, charges to distribute or possession for sale drug charges may be filed. Again, what the police did and how these drugs were obtained could make the difference between considerable fines and jail time versus having your case thrown out.
The Los Angeles and Orange County drug crime defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan understand the charges you are facing and how best to come up with a solid defense strategy. By examining your case carefully, we may be able to lessen your charges or have the case thrown out. Call us for a free consultation about your case 866-430-8383.