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What Are My Rights During Search and Seizure?

Most people expect to have a right to privacy, but that does not mean that they cannot expect to stop the police if they have a reasonable reason to search their property. There are some steps that the police have to take before they just get to search random people’s property and seize anything that they deem to be contraband. It is important to know how searches work so that you can tell a Des Moines criminal defense lawyer if you believe that your rights have been violated.

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When Can Police Search My Property?

Police have to ask your permission to search your property. This is true even when you are pulled over for a traffic violation. They cannot simply search your car because you have already been pulled over. You would have to consent to the search.

You can also consent to a search of your home or a specific area of it, like a garage. Some people say that they have nothing to hide, so why not let a cop perform a search? We recommend against this type of thinking though. If a cop wants to search your property, they should have to come in with a warrant.

What Can They Search When They Have a Warrant?

A warrant is a document signed by a judge. The cops have told the judge that they have reason to believe that evidence of a crime can be found on a specific property. If the judge is convinced that the cops have probable cause, they can issue a warrant.

Then the cops are allowed to search a property, but only the parts of the property that are covered by the warrant. For example, they can be cleared to search apartments 1A and 2B because they suspect that a drug ring is operating out of an apartment complex. The police were not able to convince the judge that the occupants of 3C are taking part in this crime though, so they cannot legally search that dwelling.

Warrants also contain specific information about what cops are searching for. The warrant could be for illegal weapons or stolen jewelry. However, they can also seize other illegal items that are out in plain sight, even if the warrant does not include them. So if cops have the warrant to search for drugs and they find an illegal gun, that gun is probably still going to be admissible evidence in a trial even though they were not specifically searching for it.

What Should I Do If The Police Do Not Have a Warrant?

We do not recommend letting cops search your property without a warrant. If they really want to find something, they can do the proper paperwork and make sure that your rights are not encroached upon.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you believe that your rights have been violated, you need to speak to a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Contact Herting Law, PLLC and schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about what one of our attorneys can do to help you protect yourself and fight back against any criminal charges.

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