The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unlawful search and seizure. It was very important to the founders of our country that law enforcement not have the right to search through your personal belongings without a warrant, nor detain you without reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Search And Seizure
Posted By Eric Matheny
Most narcotics cases, such as trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in oxycodone, marijuana grow houses, and possession with intent to sell cases are made by detectives who search somebody's home, car, or person. When encountering law enforcement, many people get nervous and quickly forget that they have rights. High on their own power, detectives may use this to their advantage, tricking you into "consenting" to a search of your home, car, or even your own person.
Under most circumstances, a police officer cannot search your home without a warrant. The warrant must be detailed and describe the premises to be searched and the items to be seized. If a search warrant is vague or legally defective, a good South Florida criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress all evidence (drugs) obtained as a result of this bad warrant.
A car cannot be searched unless the officer has probable cause to believe that there is something illegal (such as drugs or weapons) inside of the car.
You cannot be personally searched unless you have been lawfully arrested (known as search incident to arrest) . Otherwise, the officer must have reason to believe that you may be in possession of drugs or a weapon in order to justify a pat-down.
Search warrants and pat-downs are less common police encounters. The most common encounter we all have is the traffic stop. Officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, and then uses it as an opportunity to do a little snooping around.
If pulled over for a traffic stop, be calm, be kind, and don't offer up information or admit guilt. If the cop asks, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" my advice is to just shrug your shoulders and politely hand him your driver's license and await further instructions.
If the officer asks if he can look around your car, you have a right to say no.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, serious felony and misdemeanor cases (such as possession of marijuana) are thrown out due to bad searches. What's more important is that it sometimes takes a talented criminal lawyer to determine if the search is bad.
I represent many people charged with trafficking, possession, and all levels of drug crime. What I can tell you is that it never matters what the officers found or how much of it they found. What matters is if your rights were violated. If they were, then it doesn't matter what the charge or what the quantity of narcotics may be...your case should be dismissed.
Call me today to discuss your rights in detail.