What You Need to Know About Illegal Search & Seizure
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is what’s needed for a conviction. Without adequate evidence it’s very difficult for prosecutors file charges and ultimately win their cases.
Lawyers for criminal defendants must thoroughly investigate how law enforcement got the evidence against their client. They must look into the legality of search warrants and whether proper tactics used in any seizures. The goal is to invalidate the evidence, so that it can’t be introduced at trial.
Law enforcement is usually required to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant prior to doing a search. A search warrant in Texas is defined as a written order permitting an officer to legally collect evidence. A judge will only issue a warrant if he/she believes that the officer requesting the order has provided probable cause that there is evidence of a crime where they are asking to search. If an officer collects evidence without a search warrant, that evidence will be heavily scrutinized and perhaps of little use at trial.
Some searches are legal without a warrant
There are times when an officer doesn’t need a warrant to conduct a search. FindLaw lists searches such as these as follows:
- In plain view: Officers are not required to obtain authorization ahead of time in order to gather evidence that is out in plain view, but the officer must be legally allowed to be in the area or on the premises.
- In an emergency: If someone is breaking the law and putting others in danger, officers may not have to get a warrant before searching areas that are typically off-limits.
- When consent is given: If a suspect gives law enforcement permission to search his/her home or property, no warrant is needed.
- Searches connected to an arrest: During an arrest or afterwards, officers can legally search the individual they’re arresting and the immediate surroundings for guns, other weapons, or anything else that could pose a danger.
For anyone facing criminal charges in Denton County, it is vital for the defense attorney to determine the legality of any searches and seizures that occurred.
If you or a family member in Denton, TX are facing criminal charges, please call The Peugh Law Firm at (940) 566-0271 to schedule a free consultation with attorney Daniel K. Peugh.