Once police gain access to your home or your vehicle, whatever they find could help them build a criminal case against you. The more evidence they have, the harder it may be for you to successfully defend yourself against pending criminal charges.
Challenging the evidence itself can sometimes be a good defense strategy. Other times, you might be able to challenge how the police collected the evidence they pointed out that the search was not legal. If the judge agrees with you, they may exclude the evidence obtained during the search from your criminal proceedings.
When might you be able to challenge a search?
When police officers don’t have a proper warrant
Sometimes, officers don’t follow proper protocol when obtaining a warrant. They might lie to the judge or present incomplete documentation to the person whose property they want to search.
A careful review of the search warrant before police gain entry to your home or vehicle can help you determine if a judge didn’t actually sign it or if the address on the paperwork is wrong.
When police don’t really have probable cause
An officer does not actually need a warrant to conduct a search. If they have probable cause to believe a crime has occurred, they can use that belief as grounds to conduct a search.
For example, if they smell drugs when you roll your window down during a traffic stop, that can be probable cause to do a field sobriety test or to request a search of your vehicle. However, profiling you because of your age or race is not probable cause to search you for drugs. In cases where it is clear that an officer did not have probable cause before initiating a search, their actions may not hold up in court.
Exploring all of the ways to defend yourself against pending charges can help you avoid jail and the ongoing stress of a criminal record.