Proven Winners
In Criminal Defense

4 ways illegal search and seizures happen

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In the realm of criminal justice, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution safeguards individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Florida, like any other state, adheres to these constitutional principles. However, instances of illegal search and seizure can still occur, presenting a potential defense for those facing criminal charges.

1. Absence of a warrant

One common way illegal searches transpire is when law enforcement proceeds without obtaining a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment generally requires officers to acquire a warrant from a judge, based on probable cause. If no warrant is available during a search, it could be illegal, providing a solid defense for the accused.

2. Lack of probable cause

Probable cause is the linchpin for lawful searches. In Florida, if law enforcement lacks sufficient evidence or reasonable belief that a crime occurred, is occurring or will occur, any ensuing search may be illegal. Demonstrating the absence of probable cause becomes a potent defense strategy for those facing criminal charges.

3. Overstepping the scope

Even with a valid warrant, law enforcement must adhere strictly to its stipulations. Straying beyond the boundaries specified in the warrant renders the search illegal. If a person charged with a crime can prove that the search exceeded the authorized limits, it constitutes a viable defense.

4. Consent coercion

Obtaining consent for a search is a common practice. However, coerced consent, whether through intimidation or misinformation, invalidates the search. Individuals facing criminal charges can use this as a defense by demonstrating that their consent was not freely given.

In 2021, Florida Law enforcement made 508,490 arrests. Although a stressful and overwhelming event, leveraging the right defenses can help individuals charged with a crime seek justice within the bounds of constitutional protections.