The U.S. Constitution limits the ability of law enforcement – such as Troopers of the Washington State Patrol, Deputies of our Washington State Counties and State and/or City Police Officers – to search your home, your car or any place that you otherwise have a “privacy interest” in. Our Washington State Constitution provides folks with an even greater right to privacy than our U.S. Constitution. The Federal and State laws that govern searches and seizures are very complicated and are continuously being evaluated and interpreted by the courts, both lower and higher; even trained lawyers have to keep abreast of their continuing modifications. Law enforcement officers do not have the luxury (like lawyers do) of conducting legal research before making a split second decision while on the street; the police constantly make “off-the-cuff” decisions while in the line of duty, this includes deciding what steps, if any, they can take to search an individual they have made contact with.
Often the legality of a search/ seizure is ripe for contesting, and thus the legality of the search/ seizure is usually hard fought by defense attorneys in a court of law. For instance, in a lot of cases in which drugs are found in a person’s vehicle incident to arrest, the search is invalid for one reason or another. The legal precedent of Mapp v. Ohio dictates that if drugs are found during an illegal search, such evidence cannot be used in a court of law. So although law enforcement agents may appear to have broad power to search an individual incident to arrest, and or pursuant to a warrant, their powers are not inherently absolute. It is therefore important to seek qualified legal representation if you or a loved one has fallen victim to a search and/or seizure conducted by law enforcement in Washington State — every person who lives in the United States has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his/her private affairs and premises.
In any Western Washington criminal case, a qualified Seattle criminal attorney will review the case to determine if law enforcement conducted a search and/or seizure, and if so was the search and/or seizure lawful. If it is determined that a search and/or seizure was unlawfully conducted, a qualified Seattle criminal defense lawyer will move to have any evidence obtained by way of the search suppressed; in other words, exclude that evidence from use at trial because it is “fruit of the poisonous tree”.
The Seattle criminal defense attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle criminal lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with committing crime in and around Western Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. SQ Attorneys creates success without limits. Call today for a free consultation – (206) 441-0900 or (425) 998-8384.