Unfortunately, many don’t realize their rights when they are the subject of a criminal investigation. It’s often believed that the police and law enforcement can do whatever they want to anyone they suspect of a crime. However, this is far from the truth. The United States Constitution provides protections for all. If you’re facing criminal charges, understanding your rights is vital. As such, it’s imperative to enlist the assistance of experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys to help you ensure your rights are protected during the investigation process.
What Is a Search and Seizure in a Criminal Context?
A search and seizure refers to the process in a criminal investigation in which law enforcement will search a person’s property, business, or person to look for evidence of a crime. If evidence is discovered, it can be seized or taken by the police.
Similarly, the police can search if they believe exigent circumstances, or an emergency situation, is occurring. For example, if an officer is knocking on a door and hears someone scream for help, they can enter the home without a warrant. Also, if an officer obtains the consent of the property owner, they can legally search the area permitted by the owner.
What Can the Police Do?
The police have the right to search your home so long as they have the necessary permissions. Most commonly, the police need a warrant signed by a judge permitting them to search the property of a suspected criminal. However, there are limitations to the warrant. Generally, they are only able to probe specific areas of the home.
It’s important to note that if the evidence is in plain view, the police can legally expand the search. For example, if the police are looking for a murder weapon in a garage but fund drugs on a table in there, they are legally allowed to seize the substance.
Do I Have Any Rights?
It’s important to understand that there are rights in place to help alleged offenders during these instances. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from illegal searches and seizures. Essentially, this means that the police cannot search your property without a warrant, your consent, or exigent circumstances.
If the police search your home without any of the aforementioned permissions and take evidence, it may be deemed illegal. As such, you may discover that the evidence collected against you can be deemed inadmissible. It is not uncommon for cases to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
When you’re facing a criminal charge, it’s vital to protect your rights. At the Gonzalez Law Group, our dedicated team will examine the circumstances of your case to determine the best course of action for your needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you through this challenging time.