Illegal Search

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Criminal Lawyer Los Angeles – Unlawful Search and Seizure

When a detective investigates a crime or when police officers stop a car or arrest a person, they almost always look for evidence to prove their case against the suspect. Therefore, they are very much interested in searching your car and your home. If you are in possession of a cell phone, they may want to go through your phone, look for text messages, emails or photos. If you are home, they may want to look through every room, every closet space and every container. They may ask you to give them your wallet. They may go through your paperwork, credit cards, files on your computer, any paperwork left in your room or in your pockets. They may even go into your refrigerator or your garbage. They could also start tapping your phone and listening to all your conversations with everyone. How do you then defend yourself against these intrusions?

What you need to know is that the officers’ right to search is not absolute. Also, you have no obligation to consent, unless you are on probation or parole. Generally, police officers must have a valid search warrant properly signed by a judge. If there is no warrant, police must have probable cause under the circumstances to do a search of someone’s house, or have consent to search. To search a car or a person, the police need probable cause, valid consent of the owner or someone who may give valid consent.


Police officers  may not search whoever they want whenever they want. They must either have a warrant or there must be an exception to the warrant requirement. To obtain a search warrant, the law enforcement officer or the detective who is investigating a crime must prepare an affidavit under penalty of perjury outlining the facts in support of the request for a search warrant. The affidavit along with the proposed search warrant must then be taken to a judge for review and signature. The signed search warrant then may be taken to the place to be searched for execution.


– When you consent to the search

– When evidence related to the crime could be destroyed by the perpetrator or someone else

– When the officers are concerned for their own safety or the people’s safety at the time of the search and there isn’t sufficient time to obtain a warrant

– When there is probable cause to search

– When you are in a public or private property and have been properly notified that you are subject to search

Any evidence obtained as a result of illegal search and seizure may be inadmissible against the defendant in court. Your Los Angeles criminal lawyer must be thoroughly familiar with the exclusionary rule along with legal and strategic ways to challenge the validity of the search warrant. If done successfully, crucial evidence against you could be thrown out and your case could be dismissed altogether.

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