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Illegally obtained evidence and your rights

Search and seizure, probable cause and the Fourth Amendment are common phrases we all hear while watching our favorite crime drama. However, do you really know what these phrases mean and how they can protect you?

It is important to recognize that you have rights when you are being questioned by the police, when you are arrested or when police are searching your personal property. The Fourth Amendment protects your right to privacy and prevents law enforcement from illegally seizing evidence to use against you.  

Police must have a valid search warrant or arrest warrant or have probable cause to legally search and seize your property. This applies to physical searches as well as searches of personal property, including your home, vehicle, place of business and luggage.

Any evidence obtained during these searches must be obtained legally. Evidence that stems from illegal search and seizures cannot be used against an individual in a criminal case. This could result in a lack of evidence in your case and the potential of charges being dropped or the case being dismissed. 

Drug charges and other criminal offenses may rely heavily on evidence. Due to the severe charges you can face if you are convicted of a drug crime or other offense, it is important to understand your Fourth Amendment rights. Working with a criminal defense attorney is vital if you believe your rights were violated and you are facing criminal charges. 

Source: FindLaw, "'Search and Seizure'" and the Fourth Amendment," Accessed March 12, 2015

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