Whenever a Baltimore resident is charged with a drug crime following the
search and seizure of controlled substances in his or her home, car or
on his or her person, a criminal defense attorney will want to know if
a search warrant was legally issued. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution
protects United States citizens from searches and seizures that are unreasonable.
The means that law enforcement authorities usually have to have a warrant
in order to perform a search and seizure on you and/or your property.
The Fourth Amendment says that individuals have the right to security against
unreasonable searches and seizures, and this right cannot be violated
without a warrant that is issued on the basis of probable cause. Further,
the warrant must specifically indicate the place, person or property to
In order for a search to be deemed “reasonable” (a) a judge
has to issue a search warrant that is based on probable cause or (b) the
search is justified by the context of the situation — like searching
a suspect for guns and other kinds of weapons after he or she has been arrested.
In other situations, a search warrant may not be required if a “legitimate
expectation of privacy” does not exist for the thing that is being
searched. For example, should the suspect have subjectively presumed that
the thing being searched was private? Would the rest of society also agree
that this thing or place should have been private? If the answer to both
of these questions is “yes” and if that can be shown in court,
then police evidence acquired during such a search could potentially be
thrown out. Meanwhile, if evidence has been left by the suspect in a front
yard, that would likely not be considered as private.
If you have questions about the search and seizure of evidence in your
drug crime related criminal case, by speaking with a criminal defense
attorney, you might be able to determine if that evidence will be usable
in your court proceedings.