Illegal Searches and Seizures in Texas

If you have been arrested and detained in Texas, and you don’t feel that the situation was handled properly by the police, you need to make sure that your Constitutional rights have not been trampled. This is a very complicated area of the law, but one that could provide you with an opportunity to have evidence that’s been gathered against you thrown out by the trial judge.

However, this area of law and the following analysis will require the help of a criminal defense attorney, as these are generally legal arguments whereby the facts of the case are applied to the law as it stands. Therefore, you need to contact the Law Office of Frank A. Perez, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation. In the meantime, below is a brief overview of searches and seizures.

The Governing Law

The law of searches and seizures is largely governed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which outlaws any unreasonable searches and seizures. Over time, courts have added language and precedent to this rule that somewhat clarifies what is reasonable and what is not, but this is a situation that’s almost always open to some form of interpretation.

Illegal Searches

Searches must be done with a warrant that’s properly obtained and executed within a reasonable amount of time – usually within 48 hours – but this is a rule that’s littered with exceptions, most of which tend to favor law enforcement. In order to obtain a warrant, the police must demonstrate probable cause, which is largely a subjective standard.

Assuming a properly-obtained warrant has been executed, the police are only allowed to search what is governed by and stated on the warrant itself. For instance, if a search warrant is executed for the downstairs living room of a home, it could be considered an illegal search if the police find evidence in the upstairs bathroom.

Illegal Seizures

Seizures involve the temporary deprivation of freedom or control of a person or property. Generally, if the police find evidence during a search, they can seize it and use it as evidence against the defendant. However, there are exceptions to this rule as well, all of which are highly complicated legal arguments to be made to the judge.

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of illegal seizures is known as ‘fruit of the poisonous tree,’ in which any evidence illegally seized will not only be inadmissible in court, but any additional evidence or testimony that only came about as a result of the original illegal seizure will also be ruled out of a trial.

Your Next Step

Further muddying the waters is that Texas law in some cases does not fall directly in line with the rules set out in federal courts. As such, you need to contact the Law Office of Frank A. Perez, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation.