Tag: police

When Can Police Seize Your Property?

When Can Police Seize Your Property?

A defendant’s property can often be used as evidence against him in a criminal case. For example, a cell phone belonging to a defendant may contain incriminating text messages. Part of law enforcement’s investigation will include gathering this property so it can be used as evidence in the case. However, law enforcement must comply with the law when it comes to seizing property. When can police seize your property? Here’s what you should know:

Fourth Amendment Rights & Search Warrants

The Fourth Amendment provides protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. But, this means that law enforcement officers are permitted to conduct searches and seize assets when it is reasonable to do so.

For example, law enforcement can conduct a search of property and seize evidence discovered on the property if they have been given a search warrant. A judge will not issue a warrant unless law enforcement is able to show probable cause that a crime has been committed and that evidence can most likely be found at the location identified in the warrant.

Warrantless Searches and Seizures

But, warrantless searches and seizures can be conducted in certain situations. If there is no “legitimate expectation of privacy,” items can be seized without a warrant. For example, let’s say someone accidentally leaves a small bag of controlled substances on the hood of his car while it is parked in a public parking lot. The bag of controlled substances is in plain sight, and the person should not expect privacy when he is leaving items out in the open while in a public place. Therefore, the bag of controlled substances can be seized without a warrant since there is no legitimate expectation of privacy.

Officers also do not need a warrant in emergency situations. For this type of search and seizure to be legal, officers must be able to prove that the search needed to be conducted right away in order to prevent physical harm, the escape of the suspect, or the destruction of evidence.

Become familiar with your rights so you know when officers are legally permitted to seize your property. It’s important to note that any property that is illegally seized cannot be used as evidence in your case. For this reason, criminal defense attorneys closely analyze the manner in which searches and seizures were conducted to ensure they were legal.

Is your property being used as evidence against you? If so, seek legal representation from Reisch Law Firm today. Our criminal defense attorneys will fight to have evidence that was seized illegally thrown out to weaken the prosecution’s case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Are the Police Allowed to Lie?

Are the Police Allowed to Lie?

Police officers are responsible for enforcing our laws and protecting our communities, so they are typically viewed as trustworthy and reliable people. But, police officers aren’t always honest. In fact, the law permits police officers to stretch the truth under certain circumstances. When are the police allowed to lie? Here’s what you need to know:

Lying to Get A Confession

Police officers are legally allowed to lie or mislead suspects if they are trying to get them to confess to committing a crime. For example, a police officer may tell a suspect that he has evidence the suspect committed a crime. He may say that a witness came forward to name the suspect even though this is not true. A police officer may also fib by saying physical evidence was discovered that proves the suspect committed the crime. Sometimes, a police officer will even tell a suspect that one of his accomplices finally gave in and told the police everything.

A suspect that is fed this information may feel as if he has no choice but to confess since the police already have enough evidence to convict him. Later, the suspect may realize that the police officer was not telling the truth. But sadly, a confession cannot be thrown out just because a police offer used these tactics in order to get it.

Lying to Get You to Talk

Everyone has the right to remain silent, but police officers often get frustrated when they are unable to get someone to talk. When this happens, the police might turn to dishonesty in order to get a suspect to start answering questions. For instance, a police officer may suggest that the suspect’s refusal to cooperate will lead to more severe consequences in his criminal case. A police officer may also tell a suspect that by not answering questions, he is simply making himself look more guilty. This is not the case, so don’t fall for these lies.

A police officer may also try to convince a suspect to cooperate by using phrases such as “it’s in your best interest,” or “we’re just trying help you.” But, police officers are not looking out for you in this situation. Even if you have nothing to hide, it’s recommended that you wait until an attorney is with you before you begin speaking.

If you are facing criminal charges, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Our team will stand by your side throughout the legal process to ensure that you do not hurt your case by falling for these tricks. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

A police officer cannot briefly detain someone or perform a pat-down on the outside of his clothing without reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime, is about to commit a crime, or is in the middle of committing a crime. It’s important to thoroughly understand the concept of reasonable suspicion so you know if your rights are being violated by a police officer.

Reasonable Suspicion Is More Than A Hunch

Police officers cannot choose to detain or pat someone down because of a gut feeling that the person has engaged in criminal activity. A hunch is not enough to meet the legal standard of reasonable suspicion.

What is enough? Anytime that a police officer chooses to detain someone or perform a pat-down, he must be able to describe why any reasonable law enforcement officer would be suspicious of the person. This means providing specific facts and circumstances that show how the police officer arrived at the conclusion that the person was involved in criminal activity.

For example, a police officer may spot an individual that is walking along a street at night with a crowbar in his hands. As he gets closer to the person, the officer notices that he is also looking into the windows of cars. A reasonable police officer in this situation would most likely assume that the person is about to break into a car to steal someone else’s belongings. Therefore, the officer has the right to briefly detain and perform a pat-down on this individual.

Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause

People often confuse reasonable suspicion and probable cause, but these two legal standards are very different. The legal standard of reasonable suspicion is met if a reasonable police officer would assume that a person is involved in criminal activity based on the facts and circumstances. On the other hand, the legal standard of probable cause if met if a reasonable person would make this assumption.

A police officer cannot arrest someone with reasonable suspicion alone. To make an arrest, he must have probable cause, which requires more evidence. Police officers also cannot perform searches or seize evidence without probable cause.

Have you been detained, pat down, or arrested? If so, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will review your case to make sure that the police officer followed proper protocol when interacting with you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.