Search and Seizure Issues
Many arrests throughout Florida are the result of illegal searches and seizures that violate the U.S. Constitution. With some exceptions, police generally need probable cause and a warrant signed by a judge to search a person, his or her vehicle, home or other property. Without a warrant, there are limitations as to when the police can conduct such a search. One way that police often gain authority to search a person or property is by asking for consent or permission to search. When faced with such a request from a police officer, this can put a person in a difficult and scary position. However, everyone should be aware of the fact that every person has a Constitutional right to refuse a request to search that comes from a police officer. Even where a person gives consent, the circumstances of the request may provide for an argument that the consent was forced.
The laws regarding searches and seizures of property by police are numerous and change often. As one might expect, police officers cannot always keep up with the changing laws governing when they can search a person or his or her property. As a result, many seizures of property and arrests are made on the basis of an illegal search and seizure. In any case where an arrest was made as a result of a search and seizure, the circumstances of the search and seizure must be evaluated to see if the police officer followed the laws and Constitution. If that was not the case, a motion to suppress any evidence seized as a result of an illegal search could ensure that the evidence is never used against the person arrested and may result in his or her criminal charges being dropped. However, it is important to contact a law firm whose lawyers understand the ever-changing search and seizures laws so that the encounter with the police can be closely evaluated. If you have any questions regarding a search and/or seizure in Jacksonville, Northeast Florida or Southeast Georgia, please call us at 904-642-3332 or contact us online.