As a citizen of the United States and a Maryland resident, you are afforded protections against law enforcement officers conducting unconstitutional searches or seizures. Maryland law details circumstances that are considered an unconstitutional search or seizure, including some that might surprise you. What is an unconstitutional search or seizure in Maryland?
What Is the Difference Between Lawful and Unlawful?
The main decider when determining what is an unconstitutional search or seizure or a consensual encounter and therefore constitutional is control. Are you in control of when you leave? Are you allowed to decide when the interaction ends? In that circumstance, you are taking part in a consensual encounter. However, if you do not feel free to leave and the police are determining whether or not you can leave the situation, you are part of a seizure.
Police can initiate a search or seizure for a broad range of reasons if they have reasonable suspicion about the person being about to commit a crime or having committed a crime. If they do not have probable cause, they cannot detain an individual and check on warrants, ask for additional information or force you to remain with them. If you are unsure of whether or not the search or seizure you experienced was lawful, it’s always best to consult with an experienced attorney and law firm like Mobley and Brown, LLP.
What Are Examples of Search and Seizure?
Searches and seizures can take many different forms and happen over the course of many different types of cases. For example, searches could include:
- Looking through a phone or computer
- Searching a vehicle
- Looking through a home
- Searching your pockets or person
- Examining the contents of a container, suitcase or briefcase
Some examples of seizures include:
- Confiscating property
- DNA warrants
- Traffic stops
Remember that police do not need a warrant in every case for a search or seizure to occur, but cases where there was no warrant are typically easier to have evidence excluded from the record. There are specific circumstances in which a search without a warrant is legal, like when an individual was arrested and the search occurred after the arrest.
Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Search and Seizure Case
If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your arrest, search or seizure and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.