Our Constitution and laws protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. As a result, authorities need to follow certain rules to search for and seize evidence. If the authorities don’t follow the rules, the evidence may not be admissible in court. Residents of Arizona and elsewhere should be aware of certain factors that may make a search or seizure illegal.
No probable cause
Searches usually need to be based on probable cause in order to be legal. Probable cause is usually defined as sufficient reasoning that indicates the possibility that evidence related to a crime will be obtained as a result of a search. Police can use the tips of informants, their own observations and other evidence to prove probable cause, and if they didn’t have probable cause to initiate a search, the judge can suppress evidence during the trial.
The police often need to have a warrant to search someone’s property, and the warrant needs to specify the items they are seeking and the place they are going to search. If the warrant is not specific enough, a judge may suppress any evidence that the police obtained as a result of the warrant. An experienced attorney should be able to read a warrant and determine if it has issues concerning particularity.
Police may not use some interrogation tactics to compel a subject to provide statements to the authorities. In addition, in some instances, police need to warn people of certain rights before an interrogation takes place. If the police do not follow these rules, evidence they seize as a result of a problematic interrogation can be suppressed in court later.
No exigent circumstances
Police generally do not need a warrant if they have probable cause, and there are exigent circumstances that require them to initiate a search immediately. However, the police may say that exigent circumstances warranted a search when no emergency actually existed. As a result, anyone who thinks that the police did not have exigent circumstances or made other mistakes when executing a search should speak with an experienced criminal law attorney to preserve their rights.