Even though some other states have legalized medicinal marijuana, attitudes toward other illicit drugs are hardening, due in large part to the opioid addiction crisis ravaging America. Here in Indiana, the “war on drugs” continues unabated. Law enforcement is aggressive, and at times the police are overzealous, trampling on the civil liberties of suspected lawbreakers. The good news is that when the police violate your constitutional rights, they are not entitled to use evidence they find against you. But the only way you can benefit from constitutional protections is to retain an attorney who is willing to fight for your rights. If you have been subjected to an illegal search and seizure, trust The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey to challenge the police procedures and fight for the justice you deserve.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says:
“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.”
This amendment is meant to protect people from unreasonable searches by government officials, such as the police. In the normal course of police practice, a search of your person, home or vehicle is deemed reasonable if the police have a warrant that meets these requirements:
So, if the police have a warrant for your brother-in-law, they cannot arrest you for being in his home. If the police have a warrant for your neighbor’s apartment, they cannot search yours simply because you share a fire escape or hallway. If the police have a warrant to search for drugs, they cannot take your laptop.
A search without a warrant might be reasonable if it fits one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement:
If none of these exceptions applies, you may have been subjected to an unconstitutional search. A common type of violation is a traffic stop based on racial profiling.
In deciding what remedies might be available for an illegal search, the Supreme Court of the United States came up with the exclusionary rule. This rule says that any evidence seized as the result of an illegal search is inadmissible in a court of law. In addition, any clues gotten through an illegal search that led to evidence means that evidence is considered tainted, which the court refers to as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” For example, if you were arrested on drug charges because of an illegal traffic stop, the prosecution would not be able to present the drugs as evidence, so the charges would have to be dropped. In the practice of criminal law, this affords a defendant great protection. An experienced defense attorney will ensure you make use of these protections.
If you have been subjected to an illegal search and seizure, The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey is prepared to assert your constitutional rights. For a free consultation and cost-effective representation from an experienced Fort Wayne attorney, please contact the firm online or call us at 260-222-7364.