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Goshen Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Lawyers Fight Illegal Searches and Seizures

When are the police allowed to search you or your property? Many people don’t know the answer to this question, and they find themselves arrested and on trial, not knowing that the evidence being used against them was illegally seized. When it comes to searches and seizures, you have rights guaranteed to you by the Constitution, and the civil rights attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. will fight to make sure that you receive a fair trial and that any civil rights violations are properly addressed and remedied.

The Warrant Requirement for Searches and Exceptions for Warrantless Searches

Although the general rule is that a warrant is required to conduct a search, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement, including the following:

Search Incident to a Lawful Arrest – When the police arrest you, they may search your person and the areas within your reach.

Plain View – If police are lawfully on the premises, they may seize any potential evidence that is in plain view.

Automobile – If police have probable cause to believe evidence may be in the car, they can search without a warrant because otherwise the car may be gone by the time they get one.

Hot Pursuit and Emergencies – Police may enter the premises while chasing a suspect, and they may seize evidence found there. They may also conduct a warrantless search for evidence that could dissipate or be destroyed before a warrant could be obtained.

Consent – There is nothing to prevent the police from asking you if they may search you, your bags, your car, etc., even if they have no warrant or even probable cause. If you agree to let them search, their search is lawful. Make sure to distinguish when police are telling you they are going to search versus when they are asking your permission. You are well within your rights to refuse to give your consent to a search.

Stop and Frisk

Since 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of police officers to briefly stop a suspicious person on the street to determine if the person is connected with criminal activity. If the police suspect the person may be armed, they are allowed to “frisk” the person for weapons. This frisk, which is really a search, is limited to a pat-down of the person’s outer clothing and is limited to a search for weapons. However, it is possible that what occurs during a “stop, question and frisk” will give the police the probable cause they need to make a warrantless arrest, in which case they could conduct a full warrantless search of the person and the area within his or her “wingspan” as a search incident to a lawful arrest.

Contact Experienced New York Lawyers to Fight Your Illegal Search

New York City’s stop and frisk policy has been under fire in both state and federal court for racial profiling and for the way the NYPD uses the information they collect during a stop. Whether you have been stopped and frisked or subjected to a warrantless search that led to your arrest, it is important that you have the entire circumstances reviewed by an experienced attorney. At Dupée & Monroe, P.C., our lawyers provide aggressive and effective criminal defense and also represent people in civil court when their civil rights have been violated. Contact our office in Goshen to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced New York criminal defense and civil rights lawyers.

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