Illegal Search and Seizures
“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, United States Constitution
All searches without a search warrant are unconstitutional. The police can ask. They can also threaten, cajole, and manipulate. However, unless certain exceptions apply, they still cannot legally search you, your house, or your vehicle without a warrant.
Situations in which law enforcement can search without a court warrant:
- Consent: If the police ask to search you, your car, or your house, and you give consent, they do not need a warrant. The search is legal. However, you do have the right to refuse.
- Probable Cause: If the police believe that a crime has been committed, or that a certain property is connected with a crime, they do not need a warrant.
- Plain View: Contraband drugs or weapons that are in plain sight give the police probable cause to search.
- Avoiding Arrest: If you are in a vehicle, do not cause yourself to be stopped for an arrestable offense. Do not speed, drive recklessly, or drive drunk, and make sure that your taillights are in working order. Police often use these “pretext stops” to look for drugs.
To schedule a consultation to review your case, contact The Law Office of Jerry Michael Acosta by completing our online contact form or call at (713) 869-4000.