Search and seizure is one of the most important constitutional rights Americans hold.  The Fourth Amendment protects all citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, most likely from police and law enforcement.  In order to be constitutional, a search and seizure must be based on probable cause, and varying from state to state, based on the contents of a search warrant or outside sources.  Regardless of your situation, if you have the subject of a search and seizure in Phoenix, you should talk to a defense attorney today.

Search and Seizure

In search and seizure cases, the court must determine if the person in question had a reasonable expectation to privacy which society would generally recognize.  For example, you cannot be searched without a warrant unless circumstances justify a search.  Otherwise, officers need to prove probable cause to receive a search warrant from a judge.  Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief that an individual has, is, or will commit a crime.

Jay-Z & Search and Seizure

Perhaps the most pop-culture use of “search and seizure” knowledge comes from rapper Jay-Z’s song, “99 Problems,” which actually provides useful insight into the Fourth Amendment.  Professor Mason from Southwestern Law School provides commentary into the song and takes the song verse by verse to explain the correct and incorrect notations.  For example, Jay-Z alludes that police need a warrant to search your car, but the Supreme Court has held that cars can be searched if officers have probable cause.  Jay-Z does make some correct points in his song, such as asking an officer if you are under arrest if you are pulled over.  Professor Mason admits that this is smart because if the officer says you are not under arrest, he can only search for contraband with probable cause.

As Jay-Z has no doubt discovered, the constitutionality of most searches and seizures turn on whether officers have probable cause, no matter the situation.

Phoenix Search and Seizure Defense Attorney

Unreasonable searches and seizures can be thrown out of court if they were not based on probable cause, which is why it is so important to find the best defense for your case.  However, it is important to keep in mind that if evidence seized during a search and seizure was seized unconstitutionally, your case will not be dropped.  Rather, the case will proceed without the illegally obtained evidence.

Other instances in which evidence seized can be thrown out include:

  • Illegally seized property
  • Evidence seized through coercion
  • Evidence seized through fraud

However, evidence can be used if you consent to a search of your person, property, or car.  Further, if evidence is in plain sight, officers have to right to seize this.

Dwane Cates | Phoenix, Arizona Defense Attorney

Dwane Cates is a Phoenix search and seizure defense lawyer and has years of experience in handling federal and local criminal defense cases.  His insight into constitutional law is unparalleled, and he is frequently called upon to discuss recent court cases on reputable news talk shows around the nation.  He recognizes that each case is unique and will work hard to dig up all the evidence he can to develop the best defense for your case.

Contact our offices today to set up your initial free consultation after which Dwane Cates can examine the facts of your case and determine whether your constitutional rights were violated and what he can do to correct this.


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