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Frederick J. Brynn, P.C.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were recently arrested for drug possession but felt like the officer committed an unlawful search and seizure, then this article is for you. Sadly, police officers get away with illegal searches for weapons, contraband and drugs quite often. Rarely does anyone challenge the way the search was performed, since the judge probably assumes it was done so in a legal manner. 

Those arrested for drug possession must obtain legal representation early. This gives your attorney sufficient time to develop a defense strategy in hopes of getting the charges dropped or at least minimize the penalties. Here are common questions a person may ask their attorney about unlawful search and seizures committed by law enforcement: 

Q: How do I know if I gave the officer consent to search and seize?

A: Consent when it comes to a search and seizure of illegal drugs, can get very complicated. Being confronted by an officer while in your vehicle, approached on the street, or in your home can be enough to cause a person to serge into a state of panic. This can cause the person to forget everything they know about giving proper consent for a search and seizure. 

An officer may verbally ask for consent before doing a search. Or, sometimes law enforcement will ask for consent and then request that the individual fills out a written form too. But, not all searches are done with respect to a person’s rights. It is unlawful for an officer to coerce, intimidate, or threaten a person as a way to be granted consent to search. A defense attorney can fight for your side of the story about how the officer failed to obtain adequate consent before searching for drugs.

Q: Is it possible that an illegal search and seizure means my case will drop?

A: If you and your criminal defense attorney in San Mateo, CA can prove that the officer used coercion, threats, or other malicious tactics to scare you into letting them search you, then there is a chance that your case will be dropped. If a search and seizure was shown to be unlawful, then drugs confiscated from the scene may not be permissible in court. 

Q: Am I guaranteed to be let off the hook if the officer’s search was unlawful?

A: Unfortunately, despite an officer committing an illegal search and seizure of drugs, the evidence is not always dismissed in the case. The Attenuation Doctrine does state that any unlawfully taken evidence may be used in court if the connection between evidence confiscated and police conduct was interrupted by special circumstances. For example, a couple officers may illegally halt a person on the sidewalk and accuse him or her of drug possession without legitimate suspicion. But then, during this halt one officer realizes that there is an arrest warrant for this individual. Based on this doctrine, what was initially an unlawful halt becomes attenuated because of the warrant. 

Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal charges and drug possession defense.

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