If the police searched your personal property such as your vehicle or home before arresting you, it’s important to determine if this was done legally. This is especially true if the police seized evidence against you. Here’s what you need to know about search and seizure law and what to do if you were arrested for a crime in Maryland and the police searched your property.
What the U.S. Constitution Says About Search and Seizure
Citizens of the U.S. are protected by constitutional law against unreasonable search and seizure. Here’s what the fourth amendment has to say:
“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.”
When is a Search Reasonable?
A search is considered reasonable if police have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or they have a warrant.
For example, if the police pull you over for speeding and smell marijuana in your vehicle, this is usually enough evidence or probable cause to legally search your vehicle for drugs or drug paraphernalia. However, the appearance of a driver having bloodshot eyes (with no other evidence to suggest the driver may be in possession of marijuana) would be unlikely to be enough evidence to conduct a legal search. The smell of marijuana is distinct, however, bloodshot eyes can be caused by several different things such as medications, fatigue, and chronic medical conditions like dry eye.
A search is also considered reasonable if a judge has signed a warrant that allows the police to do so. For example, if you’re a suspect in drug trafficking investigation, a judge may sign a warrant authorizing the police to search your home and vehicle. Keep in mind that the police can only search and seize evidence from the areas specifically listed on the search warrant.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Now
If you were arrested and the police searched your home, car, locker, purse, or other property, it’s critical that you secure legal representation. Ocean City criminal defense lawyer Richard Brueckner has the skills and experience you need to fight the charges against you. Call today for a consultation at (410) 430-1464.