Defending Against Illegal Search And Seizure

Illegal Search and SeizureIn many cases, when a criminal charge is dropped or dismissed, the reason is that police violated the defendant's rights during an illegal search and seizure. A strong criminal defense on these grounds is most often seen in cases involving drug charges and DUI charges.

However, getting a charge dropped on the basis of illegal search and seizure does not happen automatically, and you should seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing a criminal charge based on a traffic stop or a search of your person or your property.

For a consultation to discuss your case with an experienced York attorney, contact The Law Office of Marc J. Semke today. The sooner we can intervene on your behalf, the sooner we can start protecting your rights.

What Makes A Search Or Seizure Illegal?

In general, the Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal search and seizure, including unlawful vehicle searches. Additionally, any items that were illegally seized may not be used as evidence in criminal cases.

For a search to be legal, it must be reasonable: a police officer must show that there is reason to believe that a crime has likely been committed. If the officer lacked sufficient reason to conduct a search, then any evidence seized in the search may be suppressed.

In the context of a DUI traffic stop, a police officer must have reason to suspect that the driver is impaired. A traffic violation alone is generally not reason enough to assume that a driver is drunk.

In some cases, before conducting a search, a police officer must get a judge to issue a search warrant. In most cases, though, police are allowed to conduct "warrantless" searches if there is probable cause to think that a crime has been committed.

For example, if a police officer stops you and sees an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, the officer may have grounds to search the vehicle to obtain evidence of impairment.

Courts are frequently asked to decide what is "reasonable" in these cases, and the reality is that police officers are not immune to mistakes. Many DUI charges, drug charges and property crime charges are dismissed because police and prosecutors failed to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

The Totality Of Circumstances Must Be Considered

Defending against illegal search and seizure requires thorough investigation. At The Law Office of Marc J. Semke, we can investigate every aspect of your case, including any police reports and physical evidence, to determine whether the police violated your rights at any point during a search and seizure.

These cases are far more complex than most people realize, and reaching a just outcome requires considering the totality of circumstances — not simply what the arresting officer says.

Contact Us

The Law Office of Marc J. Semke serves criminal defense clients in York, Harrisburg, Camp Hill and the surrounding areas in South Central Pennsylvania. Schedule a consultation by filling out our online form or by calling 717-781-8021.