Even when a person has done nothing wrong, a confrontation with police officers can be intimidating. Law enforcement officials like police officers carry the authority of upholding the law in their official actions and the work that they do to protect others can sometimes impinge on the rights most Americans hold dear. In particular, when a police officer states that they wish to search the property of another because of the suspicion of criminal activity, an individual can feel threatened and unsure of how to react.
When a person is suspected of committing drug crimes, searches and seizures of his property may occur. Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution law enforcement officials may not arbitrarily look for drugs in or on the property of others. Generally, a police officer must either have probable cause to undertake a search or must have a search warrant executed by a judge to make a legal search of another person’s property.
In simple terms, probable cause is a reasonable belief that illegal substances or activities are present, and a search warrant is a document that is supported with evidence that a particular person or location may house illegal items. These requirements mandate that individuals’ right to privacy is protected to the utmost while still allowing police officers to do their jobs.
If a person is subjected to a search and seizure process, he can benefit greatly from speaking with a criminal defense lawyer about the situation. There are instances when police officers make mistakes and seize contraband outside of the scope of their permissible searches. When mistakes are made, individuals can sometimes see the evidence collected against them thrown out, can avoid the serious consequences of being convicted of drug crimes and can continue to live their lives with the rights bestowed upon them under the law.