Illegal Search and Seizure Explained
Phoenix Search and Seizure Attorney
The Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution was implemented by our founding fathers to protect citizens from potential tyranny on the part of their government. One of the most important Constitutional protections we enjoy is our Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of our property and person. Without probable cause that a crime has been committed and a search warrant, law enforcement may not invade one’s private domain in search of evidence of wrongdoing or contraband, except in certain circumstances where the situation is such that a search is clearly in order, for example if police hear a person cry out for help from inside a private home, or if a police officer sees an illegal substance left in plain sight during a routine traffic stop.
Unconstitutional Police Procedure in Arizona Drug Arrests
In many Arizona drug cases, police procedure will come into question. If you have been arrested and charged with possession of drugs, and police have been less than meticulous in respecting your Fourth Amendment right to privacy, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to have any illegally obtained evidence against you thrown out.
Making a Case for Fourth Amendment Violations
Proving illegal search and seizure is not a simple matter. There is a large body of case law—prior judicial decisions that must be considered by the courts—that can affect the determination of whether or not your constitutional rights have been violated. You will need a defense attorney with the time, commitment, and skills to find and present the appropriate case law to a judge to have illegally obtained evidence suppressed.
These cases can be extremely complex, and the ultimate decision will often hinge on the ability of your attorney to:
- Research applicable case law to find relevant prior decisions, and
- Relate the circumstances of the prior decision to the circumstances surrounding your arrest
- Make a persuasive case to the judge that the Constitution demands that the illegally obtained evidence be suppressed.
Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
The mere fact of an illegal search does not automatically mean that the charges will be dropped, if the prosecution has enough other evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; but if the illegally obtained evidence is thrown out, so is any other evidence derived from the illegal search, which legal professionals refer to as the fruit of the poisonous tree.
Choosing the Right Lawyer
Conducting the necessary legal research and preparing a convincing argument is time-consuming and labor-intensive. So when you choose an attorney to represent you, it is absolutely essential that you select one with time to focus of your case and one who has the detailed knowledge of constitutional law and research skills that will equip him to find and apply the law to your best advantage. That means your attorney should have many years of successful experience in defending the accused and should be a specialist in criminal defense cases.
You may qualify for the services of a Public Defender based on your income, but don’t be tempted. Public Defenders are overburdened with caseloads that don’t allow them the time to give their focused attention to any one case. Your freedom more than likely depends on the quality of your legal representation, so go for the criminal defense attorney you can find, one with the expertise, experience, and time to devote to you and your situation.
Board Certified Criminal Defense Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Vicinity
If your case is pending in Arizona, call the law offices of attorney Howard A. Snader, LLC. Howard is an AVVO criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, with offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale, who has been certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a Criminal Law Specialist since 1995. He has succeeded in obtaining the dismissal of drug and other charges by having illegally obtained evidence suppressed, as well as winning numerous acquittals at trial for his clients on constitutional grounds. He is an aggressive and results-oriented advocate for the accused, with a passionate belief in the rights afforded to everyone in the United States by our treasured Constitution, and the willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure that those rights are protected.
If you’ve been arrested, call Howard Snader immediately, and until he arrives, exercise your right to remain silent. Your first consultation is free, and Howard will work out a payment plan with you that you can afford.