Illegal Search And Seizure Defense in Augusta GA – Fleming and Nelson, LLP
“The 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.”
- 4th Amendment, United States Constitution
In Augusta, you may be arrested for allegedly committing a crime. However, the U.S. Constitution guarantees you certain rights. In fact, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits police from conducting an illegal search and seizure. This doesn’t mean that police won’t conduct an illegal search and seizure and force you to defend yourself in court.
If you or your loved one is accused of committing a crime, the police may have obtained the evidence illegally. This means that you won’t have a fair chance at trial unless your attorney fights to get the evidence thrown out of your case. Contact Fleming & Nelson, LLP for help. Our defense attorneys in Augusta GA will help protect your rights and provide you a strong defense against illegal search and seizure.
What is an Illegal Search and Seizure?
The Constitution places a limit on police power regarding their right to make an arrest. It also places strict limits on searching people’s property and taking contraband or objects. Contraband or objects can range from weapons, illegal drugs or even money. All evidence gathered must be obtained in a lawful way.
The search-and-seizure provision focuses on your privacy. This means that federal and Augusta law enforcement can’t just search a person’s home because they want to do so. Instead, they must obtain evidence to do so under two lawful circumstances.
The first lawful circumstance is probable cause. This means that the police have probable cause if the arresting officer has knowledge and reasonably trustworthy information about facts and circumstances sufficient for a prudent person to believe the accused has committed an offense. For example, if you are driving a vehicle and police believe you are driving under the influence. They may follow you, but not stop you. If you miss a red light, the police officer has probable cause that you committed a traffic violation and may stop you.
The second lawful circumstance is reasonable suspicion. With reasonable suspicion, the police must have a demonstrably reasonable basis for believing a criminal activity has or is about to take place before stopping or detaining someone for it.
The difference between probable cause and reasonable suspicion comes down to degrees. Reasonable suspicion is a degree lower than the one needed to enact probable cause; however, the police must be able to articulate exactly what that reasonable suspicion is in order for the stop or detention valid.
At Fleming & Nelson, LLP Law, we aggressively defend our clients against weapons, drugs and other crimes. We investigate your case to determine if the evidence was obtained illegally. We then fight to get the evidence thrown out of your case so you or your loved one can have a fair trial.
Unlawful Police Tactics
While the rest of the nation is decriminalizing marijuana and shifting its focus to violent crimes, Georgia law enforcement officials take a tough stance on drug crimes. If you are new in town, or you are found driving in areas where drug use is more common, you can expect to be pulled over for just about anything: busted taillight, failure to signal a turn, rolling stops, loud exhaust, or tinted windows.
The police profile people who are traveling through certain areas and will use highly subjective observations to justify stopping and searching your vehicle and person. They can say that you looked nervous or that your vehicle looked like it was swerving to create a DUI inference. These reasons for the stop subvert the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure because they could universally be described about anyone being pulled over without substantive reason by police.
However, for Georgia police officers, the means justify the ends when they make a big bust on suspicion. Yet, for recreational, occasional users, and others who get caught up in their dragnet-style tactics, this can spell serious consequences of lost driving privileges and a permanent criminal record. It can also land you in jail for a long time if they decide to add the weight of the container that the drugs were in or drug paraphernalia to the equation.
If you are charged with any crime in Georgia, especially a crime where you or a loved one allegedly possessed illegal drugs or weapons or were pulled over for a DUI, you need the help of the top Augusta illegal search and seizure attorneys at Fleming & Nelson in Augusta
Defense Against Illegal Searches in Augusta
Police must comply with the Fourth Amendment when conducting a search. However, that doesn’t mean the police will always follow the law. If an illegal search does occur, then a judge will protect your Fourth Amendment rights. Unfortunately, a judge will not know your rights were violated. It requires illegal search and seizure attorneys to present these fact in a motion.
A motion to suppress is a pleading drafted by an attorney citing what the police did wrong regarding their search and seizure of the evidence they seek to use against you. This is a is a separate hearing from a trial. No jury is involved. A judge listens to both the defense and prosecution arguments. During a motion hearing, your attorney argues that certain evidence was obtained illegally and should be excluded from your case. The prosecution argues that the evidence was lawfully obtained by the police and should be kept in the case. In response, the court has a variety of options. A judge can find in favor of the prosecution. This means that police didn’t not violate your Fourth Amendment rights.
After a review, a judge may find that an unreasonable search and seizure did occur based on the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule prohibits the use of any evidence from an unreasonable search to be used.
A judge can decide police obtained the evidence illegally. If this happens, a judge can rule the evidence is the fruit of the poisonous tree. This is a legal doctrine that refers to the evidence obtained as “fruit” and the search as the poisonous tree. The latter suggest that the “poisonous tree” was a search conducted against the law and violated your Constitutional rights.
Once the judge rules under this doctrine, the evidence obtained is ruled inadmissible. Prosecutors can’t use any of the evidence. They can’t introduce the evidence indirectly either. It’s a real win for you because the judge has protected your Fourth Amendment rights by eliminating the illegal search and contraband items and evidence the police found.
Most defendants believe that this favorable ruling will cause the prosecution to dismiss the case. This isn’t always true. Prosecutors may continue the case; however, their case may be severely damaged without that illegally obtained evidence. This could lead to a lower charge or an outright dismissal of your case due to the prosecution’s lack of evidence to proceed in the case.
The Constitution provides you with legal protection so you can have a fair trial. When an attorney proves their client’s rights were violated, it weakens a prosecutor’s case. This means the jury will not view any of the suppressed evidence or information and won’t consider it as evidence against you. When you’re fighting for your life, liberty and reputation take no chances. It’s important to understand how police can obtain evidence to convict you illegally.
Contact Fleming & Nelson, LLP Law
Dealing with a criminal charge is a confusing and intimidating situation. You or your loved one must have a knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated attorney on your side to obtain a positive outcome.
At the law firm of Fleming & Nelson, LLP, we work hard to fight for a positive outcome. We are illegal search and seizure attorneys. We understand that some evidence falls into the category of the poisonous tree doctrine. We will build your defense against illegal searches in Augusta. Contact us today at (706) 434-8770 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and to set up your free consultation.