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Are You the Victim of an Illegal Search and Seizure?
Police investigations require a high level of oversight. Regardless of how much authority they seem to have, they still have restrictions on their behavior and methods. Sometimes, power goes to their heads, and they go beyond these boundaries.
The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution ensures protection from unreasonable police searches. Police cannot enter your home or go through your belongings without meeting very specific conditions. They can easily blur these conditions to suit their needs, leaving you with an unjustified arrest. From there, the case becomes a situation of your word vs. theirs.
If the police have overstepped their authority, resulting in your arrest, Attorney Evan M. Hoffman can help. Since 1998, he has helped defend Miami and Ft. Lauderdale residents against unlawful, illegal arrests. When the court disagrees with police methods, the case can be thrown out. Let our lawyer help you prove that you were victimized by an abuse of power.
Police Entering Without a Warrant
Police cannot enter a home without a warrant. In fact, any place that could be considered a habitat, such as an RV, requires a warrant before a search. Authorities will often try to intimidate residents into letting them in. They will claim that if they come back with a warrant, criminal penalties will be harsher, and it’s better for you to cooperate.
If the police appear at your home, you are under no obligation to allow them inside. They may choose to push past you. Don’t put up a fight, as they may use this against you. Let them through, and keep track of everything they do. Pay close attention to everywhere they go and everything they touch. These details will be important later.
No matter what they find, and no matter what they charge you with, stay quiet. You have a right to remain silent. This right is so important, you are reminded of it when arrested. Silently cooperate, and as soon as you can, call our office. Tell our lawyer exactly what happened, down to the smallest detail. The more information you can give, the stronger your defense will be later.
Police Claiming Probable Cause
In some situations, police can claim they had probable cause to conduct a search without a warrant. The problem is, they can stretch the definition of that term to fit their needs. Fueled by personal bias, assumptions, or an ugly prejudice, they break protocol and arrest you in the process.
Afterward, the case becomes a “he said/she said” situation. Whenever you interact with police, take note of every step they take. Then, call our office and tell Mr. Hoffman what happened. If there is a break in procedure, it can be used to defend you in court.
Police Exploiting Exceptions
There are exceptions to the rule. In very specific circumstances, police have the right to search a home without a warrant. Cops can take advantage of this fact, twisting the truth and the law to get their way.
If someone consents to a search, police have free reign to move forward. For this reason, you must remain silent. They can twist your words, using them as evidence of your consent. Sometimes, they will outright lie, claiming that you allowed a search you never agreed to.
Overstepping the “Plain View” Rule
Even with a warrant, police can go beyond their given authority. When conducting a legal search, anything that is in “plain view” can also be used in an arrest. Imagine cops have entered a home to arrest a suspected robber. Once inside, they clearly see a bag of cocaine on the table. This alleged robber can now have drug charges added to their arrest.
However, police are also given a limited amount of space to investigate. Let’s say, for instance, they suspect you of having a meth lab in your garage. Their warrant allows them to thoroughly search that space and only that space. After finding nothing, cops start wandering the home and find something in the bathroom. This is inadmissible evidence. They had no right to go beyond the boundaries of their search. If they do, you can hold it against them in court.
Searches During an Arrest
Once someone has been officially arrested, they can be searched for weapons. If police find anything else illegal on this person, they add that item to the arrest. However, they cannot go past the procedure of a standard pat-down. If they start asking you to remove clothing or start digging deeper into your space, they may be guilty of an illegal search. Keep note of anything that happens during a pat-down, and tell our defense attorney what happened.
If you believe the police are guilty of an illegal search and seizure in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, call (305) 928-1669 today for a free consultation.
Client-Focused RepresentationOur Firm is dedicated to client satisfaction. We are available 24/7 to help those in need.
Decades of ExperienceAttorney Evan Hoffman has over two decades of experience fighting for the accused.
Premier Criminal Defense FirmExperienced Attorney Evan Hoffman has handled some of the most high profile and complex cases.
Proven Track RecordClient satisfaction is our top priority. At The Hoffman Firm we take great pride in our success and case victories.
Florida Former State ProsecutorAttorney Evan Hoffman has extensive knowledge of the strategies used by prosecutors throughout Florida.
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