Search and Seizure – Gerald R Stahl West Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
Your Rights Against Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of persons to be secure against reasonable search and seizure. The Constitution specifically provides that the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and affects, against unreasonable search 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 things to be seized. The idea is to protect reasonable legitimate expectations of privacy.
The right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures absent a Warrant based upon probable cause are subject to several specifically established and well delineated exceptions to the rule. Probable cause to issue a search warrant exists where there is a “substantial basis” or “fair probability” that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place. However, evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible as substance of evidence in criminal proceedings.
Basically, in order to show that a search warrant was in compliance with the Fourth Amendment, the police must show that they had a warrant or that their conduct fell within one of the narrow, specific exceptions to the Warrant requirement.
Exceptions to the Search and Seizure Amendment
One of the exceptions of the Warrant requirement is consent. That is where a police officer simply requests of the defendant that the officer be allowed to search his house, car or person. Another well established exception to the Warrant requirement is the automobile or motor vehicle exception. The automobile exception is premised on the ready mobility of a vehicle and probable cause to believe that contraband is in the vehicle. The Fourth Amendment would permit a police officer search the vehicle without a warrant, but, the search can only be done if probable cause to support a search exists.
Other exceptions of the search warrant requirements include fleeing felon, search pursuant to an arrest, and inventory search of a motor vehicle if that vehicle is to be impounded. There are other exceptions to the Warrant requirement under certain special circumstances. If you are faced with a search without a warrant, you should consult a skilled, criminal defense attorney in order to determine whether or not there was an exception to the warrant requirement or probable cause existed under the circumstances.
Another exception is the “plain view doctrine”. The plain view doctrine applies when an officer is rightfully in a position where evidence is plainly visible and he has probale cause to associate the property with criminal activity.
In some circumstances, an officer is allowed to “Stop and Frisk”, an individual if the officer observes conduct that in light of his experience leads him to believe criminal activity may be afoot. He may be entitled to conduct a limited search of the outer clothing of a suspect.
If You or Someone You Know Has Been Subject to a Possibly Illegal Search and Seizure – “Better Call Stahl”
The Law Offices of Gerald R. Stahl is a criminal defense law firm that argues the validity of search warrants in all Western Michigan Courts. He routinely defends people in Allegan, Kent, Kalamazoo, Barry, and Ottawa County. Gerald R Stahl is conveniently located on East Beltline in Grand Rapids near Knapp’s corner and the 63rd District Court.
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