Illegal Search and Seizure Defense Lawyers

In Las Vegas, illegal search and seizure cases are a pressing concern for many residents. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, making it crucial to understand your rights and the legal nuances surrounding such violations.

If you’ve experienced an illegal search or seizure, time is of the essence. It is imperative to take immediate action to safeguard your rights and ensure that any unlawfully obtained evidence is excluded from court proceedings.

Our skilled defense lawyers at The Defenders have the expertise and dedication to fight for your rights and provide an aggressive defense against any charges stemming from illegal search and seizure.

What Does Illegal Search and Seizure Mean?

An illegal search and seizure refers to any action by law enforcement officials in obtaining evidence without a valid search warrant or probable cause. This can include searching your home, car, or person without your consent or conducting a search based on faulty information.

The Fourth Amendment also protects citizens from unreasonable seizures of property (such as money or other valuables) during the course of a search. If there is no valid legal basis for the search and seizure, the court may deem it unlawful and exclude any evidence gathered from it.

What Are Your Rights?

As a citizen of the United States, you have certain rights protected under the Fourth Amendment, which include:

  • Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures
  • The right to privacy in your home and personal property
  • The right to refuse a search of your person or property without a warrant or probable cause

The Fourth Amendment 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.”

Under the Fourth Amendment, searches and seizures may only take place under certain conditions. A warrant must be obtained from a court. The court will not issue the warrant without probable cause and a sworn statement (affidavit or recorded testimony) describing what is known in the case, the scope of the warrant, i.e. what place is to be searched and what is being searched for, or what person is to be arrested.

Much time and discussion could be spent on what constitutes probable cause, since the term is somewhat fluid and even the U.S. Supreme Court has attempted to clarify the meaning in several cases. For the purposes of this discussion it can be defined as information from an investigation that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a violent crime has been committed and the search being undertaken will produce evidence of the crime.

If probable cause is not present, the search can be found to be defective and under the exclusionary rule, evidence obtained from the search, if any, will be suppressed and excluded from the testimony in a trial of the person involved.

Can Police Search My Car on a Traffic Stop?

We’ve discussed searches and seizures previously, however, when driving your car, do all the same rights apply on a traffic stop? The answer is, it depends.

Amendment IV of the U.S. Constitution guarantees security against unreasonable searches and seizures and requires warrants to be issued with descriptions of the place to be searched and what persons or things are to be seized. This amendment also requires that probable cause is a requirement in order for a warrant to be issued.

Is a Car Different Than My House?

In most courts’ interpretation, yes.

A vehicle is mobile, which means flight is more likely in a car than in a home. Additionally, the vehicle has windows that can be looked into and items in the vehicle are in “plain view.” It’s not unusual on a nighttime traffic stop for the police to shine flashlight into the back seat or to look at the floorboards of the vehicle.

Part of this is for protection of the police officer against weapons in the vehicle, and part of it is looking for evidence particularly of drinking or other illegal activity while driving. The courts have consistently interpreted the expectation of privacy in a vehicle to be less than what is in a home due to its mobile and more public nature.

Are Warrantless Searches Legal?

Warrantless searches are found to be valid by the courts in certain circumstances. These include:

  • If consent is given for a search
  • If the search is incident to an arrest
  • If taking the time to get a warrant would allow a suspect to escape or destroy evidence
  • If evidence is in plain view
  • If police are in hot pursuit of a suspect
  • Vehicles may be searched upon reasonable belief of a crime, a lesser standard than probable cause.

Examples of Reasonable Belief of a Crime

Under the law, police cannot randomly stop and frisk people to search for incriminating evidence, as there is no probable cause to do so. However, courts may sometimes rule in favor of the police in such situations.

If you are stopped by the police and they notice empty beer or liquor containers on the floorboard or seats of your vehicle, or if they smell marijuana smoke as they approach your vehicle, it can complicate matters. While possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is legal for adults in Nevada, smoking marijuana while driving or driving impaired is prohibited.

During any traffic stop, we recommend that you remain in your vehicle unless asked to exit by the police officer. If you do need to exit the vehicle, lock your doors and clearly state that you do not consent to a search of your vehicle if the police move toward it.

The Court May Suppress Evidence Obtained by a Warrantless Search

While a search can be performed without your consent, if the court finds that none of the above exceptions apply, and that reasonable belief of a crime is not supported, your defense attorney will move that any evidence obtained without a warrant be suppressed from court proceedings.

This means that the evidence cannot be used in court. If the only incriminating evidence against you came from the search, your case may be dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The Defenders will Aggressively Protect Your Rights in Any Search or Seizure

Any search or seizure is subject to review by the courts. An aggressive defense attorney will protect your rights and make motions to the court to suppress evidence obtained in a vehicle search. Some or all evidence obtained in such a search may be found by the courts to be unreasonable. The lawyers of The Defenders know the law and will use all available legal tools to protect you in such cases. If you’re vehicle has been searched, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does illegal search and seizure mean?

Illegal search and seizure refers to any violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This includes obtaining evidence without a warrant or probable cause.

Do police need a warrant to search my car?

A warrant may be needed to search your car depending on the circumstances. If there is probable cause, such as evidence of a crime in plain view or if you give consent for the search, a warrant may not be necessary.

Can police search my car if I am pulled over for a traffic violation?

If there is reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, police may conduct a search without a warrant. However, this is subject to review by the courts and any evidence obtained from an invalid search may be suppressed.

If the court finds that the search was invalid, any evidence collected from it may be suppressed and excluded from trial. This is known as the exclusionary rule.

Las Vegas Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney – The Defenders

It is important you contact The Defenders immediately so we can start creating an aggressive defense for your case. The Defenders delivers an honest and straightforward response to your charges while providing you personable and communicative involvement throughout the duration of your case. We’re aggressive when we need to be, compassionate when it counts, and always dedicated to your success. That’s what makes us The Defenders, a proud branch of the Richard Harris Law Firm.

We have the experience and knowledge you need to make sure you get the best judgment for your case. We are available day and night to start the process. Simply fill out our Contact Us form or call us at 702.333.3333.You don’t have to go through this alone, call us today!

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