When a police officer pulls you over or stops you on the street or shows up at your home as part of an investigation, you might understandably worry that they will invade your privacy and search through your property. This can make you feel powerless and abused, especially if an unlawful search turns up evidence against you.
Unlawful searches are one of the most common types of rights violations in criminal cases. Though you might feel helpless to defend yourself against the actions of law enforcement, you can protect yourself by knowing your rights and the actions you can take. The best way to do that is to talk to a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Know when a police search is illegal
Police do not automatically have a right to search your property. There must be a valid, provable reason to suspect that a crime has been committed or may be committed. Even if an officer obtains a search warrant, it must be specific and limited in scope. That means the police must stick to the specific matters described in the search warrant unless there is a valid reason to expand the search.
Know your rights against illegal search and seizure
The exclusionary rule is an interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that renders evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure invalid in court. The court can suppress this evidence from the record, possibly resulting in dismissed or reduced charges. However, getting charges reduced or dismissed does not happen automatically. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to show the court that your rights were violated. See our Louisiana criminal defense overview to learn more.