Every American is protected from unreasonable search and seizure thanks to the fourth amendment, which guarantees “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately, unconstitutional search and seizure can still occur. Maryland law carefully defines what conditions must be met for the legal search of your person or property. Whenever these conditions have not been met by a police officer, the search and seizure may have been illegal. What is unconstitutional search and seizure in Maryland?
What Is Search and Seizure?
Searches and seizures can happen in different types of cases and in many different ways. Anything from looking at your cell phone to searching through your entire vehicle could be considered a search. Seizures could include taking property from your home or taking your DNA using a DNA warrant. Search and seizure can occur with or without a warrant, but warrantless searches and seizures do not often hold up in court.
Reasonable Search and Seizure
The specific protection we are afforded is protection against “unreasonable” search and seizure. If the search was reasonable, then the police could have the right to examine your vehicle, home or private property. In order for a search to be constitutional:
- The police must have probable cause that there is evidence you committed a crime and a judge issued a search warrant
- The circumstances justify the search without the need for a warrant
Probable cause is a key factor in whether or not the situation is deemed an unconstitutional search and seizure. Probable cause is whether or not there is a “fair” probability that evidence of a crime or prohibited materials could be found in a particular place.
Another critical factor is whether or not there is a legitimate expectation of privacy. If you leave something in plain sight where police are lawfully present, it could be searched or seized. The court will consider whether or not you expected a degree of privacy and whether or not your expectation was reasonable.
Do You Have a Case of Unconstitutional Search and Seizure?
If you are concerned that you were the victim of an unconstitutional search and seizure, you need legal representation. Mobley & Brown, LLP can meet with you to assess your case and determine whether or not you could have been a victim of unconstitutional actions.
Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Unconstitutional Search and Seizure Lawsuits in Maryland
If you are searching for a criminal defense or disorderly conduct defense attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, 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.