Illegal Search and Seizure
Our Criminal Attorney in San Jose Protects Clients Against Illegal Search and Seizure
Supporting evidence is the backbone of any criminal prosecution. Such evidence may be in the form of physical traces linking an individual to particular location or scene. Often, simply possessing certain items or substances may represent the bulk of the criminal offense. These cases often include weapons offenses or drug crimes, in which law enforcement officials may have seized firearms or illicit substances and materials. Our criminal attorney in San Jose, Nick Cvietkovich, has handled thousands of cases in his career, many of which were dismissed based on improper search and seizure procedures or overturning of a search warrant.
Challenging the Validity of a Search Warrant
The Fourth Amendment is meant to protect individuals from unlawful and unreasonable search and seizure of their personal property. It also requires that any warrant permitting such actions be judicially sanctioned and justified by “probable cause.” Probable cause refers to the reasonable belief that criminal activity is in progress or has taken place. This presents several possible scenarios in which evidence may have been seized or obtained inappropriately under law.
Searches Without a Warrant
Law enforcement officials must obtain a valid warrant to conduct a search of an individual’s property, with certain exceptions. Under California law, officials may conduct a search without a warrant when, among others:
- Voluntary permission granted by the property owner/resident;
- A lawful arrest or temporary detention of a suspect has occurred and the officer is determining the presence of criminal evidence or an item presenting a danger to police, such as a weapon or explosive;
- The property is a vehicle, and probable cause exists regarding criminal activity or evidence;
- Incriminating items are in plain view during an otherwise lawful search;
- There is no reasonable expectation of privacy; or
- Emergency conditions exist creating the need to prevent serious injury or damage, or to find a suspect.
Challenging Probable Cause
Even if evidence has been seized during a search conducted under the authority of an issued search warrant, the issuance of the warrant itself may be challenged. A warrant is generally issued based on information provided to the judge by law enforcement in an affidavit. Thus, the information contained in such an affidavit may be critical to your case.
There have been many cases in which the submitting law enforcement official knew or should have known information that was intentionally omitted from the search warrant affidavit. This may be done to influence the judge into issuing the warrant by leaving out information that would have benefited the defendant.
In other cases, the affidavit contains so little information regarding probable cause that they cannot withstand careful examination. Judges, however, are sometimes inclined to simply “rubber-stamp” the warrant, rather than taking the necessary time to analyze the facts of the case.
Contact Our Criminal Attorney in San Jose. We Protect the Rights of Clients in Cases Involving Search Warrants.
At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, we respect the legal process and the rights afforded to every defendant. We can investigate your case to ensure that law enforcement officials followed proper procedures regarding the collection of evidence. We know how to work within the legal system to protect your rights. If your rights were violated, then we can work to get evidence removed or your case dismissed.