What Are Your Protections?
The US Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizure, meaning the authorities cannot search your person or property without good cause. Nevertheless, police illegally search people and their homes every day. If the police searched your home unlawfully, here’s what you can do.
Determine the Legality
First, speak with an attorney to determine whether the police illegally searched your home. Unfortunately, Texas laws lend police officers significant discretion when it comes to searching and obtaining evidence. That said, the police do not necessarily need to show you a warrant to enter and search your home. A police officer can enter your home without a warrant under exigent (i.e. emergency) circumstances. Typically, they do this when they need to provide assistance or aid to someone in the domicile to protect his or her life.
Exceptions and Exemptions
An officer may also conduct a warrantless search with probable cause, pursuant to an arrest, if they reasonably believe the suspect is about to destroy evidence in the home, when in “hot pursuit” of a suspect or when doing a protective sweep of the home to ensure there are no people or weapons that could potentially endanger the officer.
If you and your attorney determine you are a victim of an illegal search of your home, you can take steps to exercise your rights. Specifically, you can petition the court to have any unlawfully seized property released to you. You can also file a motion to suppress evidence, which is relatively common in criminal cases. If you are facing charges, and the prosecuting attorney has evidence that law enforcement illegally obtained, your attorney can request the court “suppress” it, meaning that evidence cannot be used against you.
Police make mistakes. They also can make poor judgment calls. And when they do, they might conduct a search unlawfully. But the power of law enforcement does not have to go unchecked. If your home was illegally searched, or if you want to learn about your rights, speak with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney promptly. Involving an attorney early on in these types of cases is essential if you want to stand up and defend your rights.
If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on your rights and help you protect them. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.