Search and seizure is a popular topic across many forms of entertainment, and yet you probably do not fully understand the process. Although popular TV shows might depict officers searching anyone's person or property for whatever reasons they deem necessary, police must adhere to the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which gives you protection from unreasonable intrusion by government officials.
If you believe that Kentucky police gathered evidence against you through an illegal search and seizure, you are probably worried about your future. Here are a few things you may want to consider.
Your Fourth Amendment Rights
You do not have to be an expert in Constitutional Law to understand the basics of the Fourth Amendment. It guarantees your right to live your daily life without worrying about unwarranted police stops, arrests or searches. These safeguards are an important aspect of your freedom which law enforcement should always uphold.
However, who decides when a search is okay? A valid search warrant makes clear that an officer has the right to conduct a search. However, police often perform searches and seizures without having the proper warrant to back them up -- and it is not always illegal. In some cases, police need only to demonstrate that there was probably cause of a crime.
What about my reasonable right to privacy?
If an officer searched you without a warrant, then he or she may have had a reasonable suspicion that you had committed a crime. However, police officers are still human and frequently make errors in judgment. In such instances, a judge may rule that certain evidence is inadmissible, meaning that it cannot be used against you during criminal proceedings.
Did you also know that your arrest might have been a Fourth Amendment violation? If an officer arrested you without a warrant or reasonable suspicion of a crime, then you can potentially keep related evidence out of court, too. This usually involves things like confessions or other evidence commonly collected after an arrest.
You deserve help
Having your Constitutional rights violated can be a very unsettling experience, especially when it leads to criminal charges. After all, how can the legal system expect you to properly defend yourself when the authorities improperly collected evidence against you?
An experienced attorney cannot only explain your rights, but can work to uphold them to the fullest extent of the law. Ensuring that inadmissible evidence gathered through an illegal search and seizure remains out of the courtroom is often essential for Kentucky defendants who hope to minimize the impact of criminal proceedings.