The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that citizens should be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Illinois Constitution includes a similar statement of rights. In this case, “the government” includes local police and federal agents.
Legally, a search occurs when a level of privacy that society considers reasonable is infringed. A seizure of property occurs when there is meaningful interference with a person’s possessory interest in that property.
There are several factors that are taken into account when determining if your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, and if evidence obtained through an illegal search or seizure can be used against you in a court of law.
Evidence obtained through an illegal search may not be used against you. This is called the Exclusionary Rule. Therefore, drugs, guns or other items seized by the police during an illegal search are not admissible in court. In certain cases, this rule results in the prosecution being unable to make a case. Without, for example, the drugs seized in an illegal search, the prosecution might have no way to prove its case and will be forced to dismiss the charges.
It’s important to know that the term “seizure” can apply to people, not just property. A person is seized when he or she is restrained in a way that restricts freedom of movement, either by physical force or a show of authority.
The law involving the Fourth Amendment is constantly evolving, so it’s important that you have a knowledgeable attorney who keeps up to date on case law and can offer you the most effective defense possible.
If you believe you have you have been a victim of an Illegal Search and Seizure, contact our Springfield Criminal Self-Defense lawyers today at (217) 414-8889 for a free initial consultation.