Evidence is a big part of the case for the prosecution and the defense when there is a criminal trial. Law enforcement officers and those working for the prosecutors have to ensure that the evidence they gather is lawfully gathered because anything that is illegally gathered might end up being useless.
One way that law enforcement officials can ensure the evidence they gather is lawfully gathered is to get a search warrant. A search warrant is something that must be signed by a judge. The judge is only allowed to sign a search warrant if there is probable cause to do so. The probable cause can be because of an oath or an affirmation that is presented.
The Fourth Amendment governs the rights of people when it comes to searches and seizures. That amendment notes that people aren’t to be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. That amendment doesn’t provide blanket protection. There are some cases in which a search might be done without a warrant.
One instance in which the search might be done without a warrant is when the person doesn’t have an expectation of privacy. That expectation must be legitimate. Another instance is when a search occurs after an arrest, but not all searches after arrests can be conducted without a warrant.
It is vital that anyone who is facing a criminal charge look into the lawfulness of the search. Even if there is a search warrant, the search might not be legal. A search warrant includes information relating to the search, including where the search can occur and the items to be seized. If the place that was searched wasn’t on the search warrant, such as if an office building is searched instead of the residence listed on the warrant, the evidence might not be legal.
The legality of evidence can have a huge impact on a defense. Understanding how the Fourth Amendment applies to your case can help you to decide how to defend yourself against the charges.
Source: FindLaw, “Search Warrant Requirements,” accessed Oct. 08, 2015