Illegal Search and Seizure and the Motion to Suppress

While people may know that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects them against  “unreasonable search and seizure,” they may not know the practical aspects of this right.  This is a real life example that shows how the Amendment can protect your rights:  I have a client who had been charged with possession of marijuana.  After reviewing the facts, I felt that the police had exercised an unreasonable search and seizure against my client, and he was entitled to file a Motion to Suppress.  This motion would attempt to exclude the evidence of marijuana because the police did not follow proper procedures.

Illegal Search and Seizure

The police were looking for a certain individual who had allegedly been involved in some criminal activity. They kicked down the door of my clients’ house, which he was sharing with the alleged criminal. Once inside the house, they handcuffed the individual they were looking for, but then continued to search the house apparently looking for evidence of other crimes.

In doing this additional search, it appears to me that they may have committed an unreasonable search and seizure. They entered my client’s room and opened a safe where he had allegedly stored a small amount of marijuana. We feel the search was not reasonable since there was no reason for the police to search the house once they had arrested the individual they were looking for. If they wished to continue seeking evidence of other crimes, they should have had a judge issue a warrant encompassing those other possible crimes.

Filing a Motion to Suppress

The warrantless search of my client’s bedroom appears to be an unreasonable search and seizure, which allows us now to file a motion to suppress the seizing of the marijuana. If the judge agrees that the drugs were seized in violation of the 4th amendment and my client’s privacy rights, the judge will then suppress the evidence.  If the police no longer have any evidence of a crime, they are likely to dismiss the drug possession charge.

We as U.S. citizens are protected against unreasonable search and seizure, and that protection is exercised by the use of the Motion to Suppress. The aim of the motion is to exclude evidence which may have been illegally seized by the police. To protect your rights, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can recognize when a search may be illegal.  Just because police have seized evidence does not mean that it will be admissible at court.