There are numerous rules that limit what the police can do, but law enforcement officers will often find ways to bend those rules. For example, there are very strict limits established about when and why police officers can search private property, such as someone’s motor vehicle. Yet, these rules are compromised frequently, as any seasoned criminal defense attorney can attest.
During a traffic stop, police officers frequently try to pressure people into agreeing to a search of their vehicles. Many people agree, giving an officer a chance to fish for a reason to arrest them. Sometimes, when people refuse because they know their rights, the officer will then come up with a questionable reason to arrest them and possibly search their vehicle anyway.
Although an officer may not have had much evidence of misconduct before a search, they may then use what they find when going through someone’s vehicle to justify their arrest and convince the prosecutor to pursue charges. How can someone who has been accused of a crime respond when they believe that the police have searched their car illegally?
They will likely need professional legal guidance
The Fourth Amendment protects someone from unreasonable searches. Someone facing criminal charges after enduring some kind of law enforcement misconduct will need help if they want to effectively protect themselves. Criminal defense attorneys understand the Fourth Amendment and the right procedure for police officers to follow.
They also understand key rules that matter in criminal court proceedings, such as the exclusionary rule. An officer who breaks the law or violates someone’s rights produces evidence that likely won’t hold up under a challenge in criminal court. Lawyers can invoke the exclusionary rule and convince the courts to throw out any evidence obtained during an illegal search. Without that evidence, there may be very little for the state to use to develop its claims of criminal activity.
Reviewing the evidence is an important part of any defense strategy. Looking at the validity of the evidence that the police handed over to the prosecutor and also the way that the state interprets that evidence will often be important steps for those who want to fight back against their pending charges.
Partnering with a capable criminal defense attorney can make it easier for someone to learn about the laws that apply to their situation and about their rights so that they can avoid a criminal conviction, if possible, and mitigate the consequences they’re facing, if not.