Law enforcement officers do not have unlimited powers, and they do not have the right to violate your constitutional rights. Under the Fourth Amendment, you have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy, and police officers have limits in their authority to conduct a search of your property and seizure of evidence.
Unfortunately, as criminal defense attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC knows, police officers do not always respect the constitution. However, if you can prove that the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an illegal search and seizure, you may ask the court to throw out the evidence against you.
Your Rights Under The Fourth Amendment
As a general rule, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy and are entitled to be free from unreasonable government intrusions, and the police may not conduct a search and seizure of your property without a warrant. However, there are exceptions to this rule that afford police officers the right to search your premises, automobile, and belongings without a warrant.
The Authority To Conduct A Warrantless Search
To search your property without a warrant, one of the exceptions must apply, such as reasonable suspicion, consent, or plain view. For example, the police cannot pull over your vehicle unless they have a reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law. Even if they have a valid cause for pulling you over, they may not conduct a warrantless search of your vehicle unless the circumstances provide a reasonable basis to do so.
If the police ask to search your vehicle and you give them permission, they do not need a warrant because you consented to the search. Additionally, police officers may seize incriminating evidence without a warrant if that evidence is in plain view. Other exceptions to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement include a search conducted that is incident to an arrest or when exigent circumstances exist.
Evidence Gathered In Violation Of Your Rights
In most cases, evidence gathered during an illegal search and seizure will not be admissible in court. This means that prosecutors will not be able to use such evidence to prove their case against you. After the tainted evidence is thrown out, if there is not enough evidence to prove that you committed a crime, the court may throw out your case. If the court does not throw out your case and it goes to trial, the jury will not know about the inadmissible evidence because it cannot be used against you.
Fourth Amendment Rights Attorney
The Fourth Amendment is based on a reasonable standard. This means that if the court finds that you had a reasonable expectation of privacy and the police conducted an unreasonable search and seizure, your constitutional rights were violated.
Criminal defense attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, represent clients who have been accused of crimes in Texas. They know that investigating police conduct is a critical part of defending every case they handle. If you are facing criminal charges, contact our office at 713-229-9992 or reach us online to discuss your case.
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