When is search and seizure illegal?
If you are under investigation for drug-related criminal activity, you may find that at some point, law enforcement will move to search your property and seize any evidence that could relate to their case against you. When engaging in a search and seizure, Colorado law enforcement must adhere to certain laws, rules and operating procedures. Regardless of your current circumstances, you still have rights.
The Fourth Amendment grants you certain rights regarding your personal property and the government’s right to enter the premises. You would be wise to know your rights and be aware of how you can protect your interests, even while you are facing a challenging legal situation.
Did law enforcement violate your Fourth Amendment rights?
It can be difficult to determine if the search and seizure of your personal property actually violated your Fourth Amendment rights. However, the following may determine if an investigation stepped over the line and became a search:
- Did you expect a degree of privacy during the search of your personal property?
- Was your expectation of privacy reasonable?
If your answers to the above two questions were yes, it is possible that the investigation infringed on your reasonable expectation of and right to privacy.
What you need to know about a search warrant
In some cases, a judge will issue a search warrant. This gives law enforcement the right to thoroughly search your property. They will also have the right to seize any property that may be connected to alleged criminal activity.
Most of the time, law enforcement must apply for a search warrant before they enter a person’s property. If they do not have a valid warrant and they enter the premises, any evidence collected for the case against you will likely not be admissible in court.
Protecting your rights when under a criminal investigation
No matter what criminal charges you may be facing or if an investigation is underway, you have the right to protect yourself against any violations of your rights. Knowing your entitlements under the law is the first step in protecting them. When suspected of drug activity or other types of criminal activity, you would be wise to take quick action to shield yourself from consequences as much as possible.
An illegal search and seizure could affect the prosecution’s case against you. If you believe that you experienced this violation of your rights, you may move to have the evidence collected dismissed and the charges reduced or dismissed.