Mobile County Criminal Law Attorney

The Importance of Challenging Illegal Searches and Seizures in Alabama

The Importance of Challenging Illegal Searches and Seizures in Alabama

The Importance of Challenging Illegal Searches and Seizures in Alabama 

In the United States, citizens are protected from illegal searches and seizures. The language is contained in the U.S. Constitution in the 4th Amendment.  

It reads: 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

This Amendment guarantees a reasonable expectation of privacy against the government.  

In Alabama and the rest of the country, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before commencing a search of your home, property, personal papers, your person, and technology, including your cellphone or computer. 

The search warrant is essential to obtain before beginning any search or seizure. Without it, the search will be considered illegal.  

Mobile Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Darley should be your first call if you suspect a search of your property was conducted illegally. Your case may turn on whether law enforcement followed proper procedures, and if not, it could be rejected by the court.

Challenging an Illegal Search and Seizure 

Illegal search and seizures are unconstitutional and may be challenged on several grounds: 

Probable Cause – One of the first questions to ask – Was there probable cause to conduct the search?  Both the police and the search warrant must state there is probable cause that this person has committed a crime, and the search is needed to uncover evidence that law enforcement believes will be found in the search. 

Probable cause can be subjective. A law enforcement officer may claim you were acting suspiciously and because of that, he assumed you may be involved in a crime.   

Courts may give police more leniency in a car because there is less expectation of privacy in a car than in your home.  

Outside the Scope –A search may be illegal if officers take the liberty to search your person or property outside of the areas specified in the search warrant. For example, a kilo of cocaine is likely not found in a desk drawer. An exception may be made if the evidence is in plain view even if it is not on the list in the search warrant. 

Exclusionary Rule—To challenge an illegal search and seizure, the remedy is citing the exclusionary rule. It prevents the evidence obtained illegally from being used in court. The prosecutor must be able to prove that proper procedures were not followed and that police violated the U.S. Constitution when they searched a suspect’s home or property. 

Qualified Immunity – is often the only remedy an officer can claim when challenged on the legality of a search and seizure. 

An officer who performed the illegal search and seizure has qualified immunity because of his status as a government employee. The officer has to argue it was reasonable to conduct this search due to the conditions at the scene and he acted in good faith. He cannot then be personally sued by a defendant.  

Attorney Darley can advise you when these exceptions apply to your case. For example, police may argue they received independent information that led to their search. If the property is unlawfully seized, Attorney Darley can motion for the court to return it on the grounds it was illegally seized.

Your Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of an illegal search and seizure in Alabama, it’s crucial to act swiftly. Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Darley, a seasoned professional with a proven track record, can safeguard your rights. If your rights have been violated, your entire case may be dismissed, with a skillful representative.  

Don’t risk your future. Whether you’ve experienced a search and seizure in Mobile or the surrounding area, Attorney Darley is just a phone call away. A complimentary consultation with this experienced criminal defense attorney could be the key to protecting your rights if you’ve been subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure.   

If you believe your rights have been violated, or if the police did not properly issue the warrant, contact Mr. Darley at his Mobile office to explore your options during this critical time at (251) 732-7058.  

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