Proven Winners
In Criminal Defense

Unlawful Search And Seizure? Know Your Rights.

Last updated on July 18, 2024

Under the United States Constitution, you have a right to protection against unlawful search and seizure. Still, unlawful searches and seizures by police and investigators happen on a daily basis throughout the United States.

If you are facing criminal charges due to an unlawful search, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed. In some cases, it is possible for the attorneys at Aiken & O’Halloran to intervene early in the case to prevent charges from even being filed. However, you will need us on your side as soon as possible. Charges are not dropped or dismissed automatically. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to intervene in your case to protect your rights and freedom if you are facing a criminal charge after a police search.

For a free initial consultation, please contact the Fort Myers criminal defense attorneys at Aiken & O’Halloran. Call 239-955-6715 or complete our contact form. We represent clients throughout the Fort Myers area.

What Is Unlawful Search And Seizure?

A police search may happen under a number of circumstances. The police may stop your vehicle, and that could lead to a search. The police may detain you for questioning, and that could lead to a search. Prosecutors may also obtain a search warrant so that investigators can search your home, vehicle or other property. In all of these scenarios, law enforcement must have a legitimate reason for the search — a reason that can stand up in court. Otherwise, evidence obtained in the search may be thrown out, and the charges may be reduced or dismissed.

Search and seizure may be unlawful for a number of reasons. For example, if the police did not have a good reason to stop your vehicle or search your vehicle, any search that happened during the traffic stop may have been unlawful. Another example would be if the police did not have a good reason to detain you on the street for questioning, and the questioning led to an unlawful search. This type of “stop and frisk” by police is increasingly common, and often people’s constitutional rights are violated by police in “stop and frisk” situations.

If a search warrant was executed on your property, an important thing to understand is that search warrants must be limited in scope and specific about the types of evidence being sought by investigators. In some cases, if investigators exceeded the scope of a search warrant, the seized evidence may be suppressed from the court record.

Unlawful search and seizure can happen in a wide variety of criminal cases, including those involving:

Our team includes a former prosecutor and a former federal agent — both of whom are now dedicated and successful criminal defense lawyers. We know what is required for a search to be legal, and we know how to defend against unlawful search and seizure.

Frequently Asked Questions On Florida Unlawful Search And Seizure

In our many years of representing clients across Florida, here are some of the questions we often field regarding unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement:

When can I refuse a police search at a traffic stop?

You have the right to refuse a police search during a traffic stop under certain circumstances. You can refuse the search if the police do not have:

  • Probable cause: Police officers typically need probable cause to conduct a search.
  • Consent: If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you have the right to refuse, but they may search anyway.
  • Warrants: Police may need a warrant issued by a judge to conduct a lawful search unless there is clear evidence of illegal activity.

If you refuse a police search within your rights, the evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court due to a violation of your rights.

What constitutes a valid warrant in Florida?

A valid Florida search warrant must meet specific criteria to be enforceable:

  • Issuance by a judge: A warrant must be issued by a judge or magistrate and must clearly state the terms of the lawful search.
  • Probable cause: The warrant must be based on probable cause.
  • Specificity: The warrant must specify the exact location to be searched and identify the specific items or individuals to be seized.

A defense attorney can challenge the validity of the warrant, potentially leading to the suppression of any evidence obtained during the search.

What are my rights when the police or law enforcement want to search my property?

When police or law enforcement want to search your property, including your vehicle or home, you have the following rights:

  • You have the right to refuse consent for a search.
  • You have the right to read and study the search warrant.
  • You have the right to be informed of your options.
  • You have the right to consult with an attorney.

If the authorities in Florida violate your rights, it can lay a sturdy foundation for your defense, especially with legal guidance.

Contact Aiken & O’Halloran Today

For a free initial consultation, please call us at 239-955-6715 or complete our contact form. Our criminal defense lawyers represent clients throughout the Fort Myers area.