Searching people, vehicles, and properties are one of the most contentious things the police do. From the perspective of someone who is being treated as a suspect, everything about the process feels invasive. If you've been the subject of a search, it may help to look at the situation from the perspective of a criminal law attorney. It's also a good idea to think about these three tricks the police like to use to skirt the rules.
1. Exigent Circumstances
In an emergency, a lot of things become legal for the cops to do. Unfortunately, this can have the effect of encouraging police officers to declare everything an emergency.
Even if a cop claims that an emergency occurred, such as someone crying for help inside a residence, they still have to document what happened. This usually starts with filing an affidavit explaining why they conducted a search without a warrant. A criminal defense attorney can examine the affidavit to see if everything adds up. Likewise, body and dashcam videos, audio recordings, and texts from the police can be obtained during the discovery process.
2. Plain View
One of the first things police officer interested in searching a property will ask is if they can enter. This opens up anything they see on the premises to a plain view argument. If the cops see something in plain view, such as drug paraphernalia, that gives them probable cause to then proceed with a search. If the police come to your place, step outside to speak with them, even if you have nothing to hide.
Another favorite question cops fish with is asking if they can have a look around. This constitutes consent to a search. Even if you consented to a search, you have the right to revoke that consent at any time. If you withdraw consent during a warrantless search, the police must stop searching immediately.
Where this can get blurry is during searches with warrants. Under the rules of search, a warrant requires specificity. This means that the police must name what they're looking for and where they expect to find it.
Suppose the cops didn't realize there was a shed on a far corner of your property until they completed a search. They might ask if you mind if they look, or even imply they have the right to do so. Under warrant rules, this lacks specificity and shouldn't be allowed. Don't provide consent under such circumstances.
To learn more, contact a law office like Daniels Long & Pinsel.