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Drug search and seizure law is a complex area of criminal procedure. The law depends on a series of statutes and case law, and it continues to change with each Supreme Court case that is decided. When law enforcement acts, it should do so within the bounds set by law. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Police officers and DEA agents sometimes try to bend the rules on search and seizure.

As an experienced criminal defense lawyer, I fight back. When illegal search and seizure happens in a case, I make sure that the evidence is excluded from the court room. To do this, I examine every aspect of your case. I make sure that the police had a warrant if they needed one, and if they otherwise followed the law if they did not.

In normal situation, a warrant is required, but there are some exceptions. Generally, the law requires that the police have search warrants when they search your private property and take evidence against you. Warrants are meant to protect you, so the law requires that a neutral magistrate or judge issue the warrant.

Prior to the search and seizure, police are supposed to go to the magistrate and demonstrate that they have probable cause that you are committing a crime. A warrant should be issued only if probable cause exists.

Police are also limited to the scope of the search listed in the warrant. They cannot search or take more than the warrant allows. This sometimes becomes an issue during the search of buildings, houses, offices, storage units, computers and other electronic devices, and private outdoor spaces. It also can become an issue in wiretap cases.

Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement

Warrants are not always required. Traffic stops are the most common exception to the warrant requirement. If you are driving and the police have reason to pull you over — such as speeding, having a tail light out, swerving or running a stop sign — the law allows them to stop your vehicle and talk with you.

The police can demand to see your driver's license. They can also ask you about your travel plans or the people in your car. If, while talking, the police then develop a reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in criminal activity, they can hold you while drug dogs are called to the scene and allowed to sniff your vehicle. If the dogs alert, it gives the police the probable cause they need to search the car. However, there are certain procedures that must be followed in these circumstances, and failure to follow the correct procedures can result in the exclusion of evidence.

Fighting to Protect Your Rights and Your Freedom

Federal prosecutors generally focus on the drug cases they know they can win — cases where the evidence against you is the strongest. This makes matters complex for federal criminal defense attorney who must make sure that the evidence gets excluded from court. To do this, defense lawyers must bring extensive knowledge, skill and experience to cases in order to be successful. They must work hard to secure their clients' freedom.

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