If you are facing criminal charges or allegations of criminal activity, you may feel overwhelming and fear for your future. Criminal charges of any kind are a serious threat to your personal freedom and other aspects of your life, and it is beneficial to start with your defense plans as soon as possible. As part of developing the right defense strategy, you would be wise to evaluate the actions of law enforcement and investigators.
No matter how serious the crime or the nature of the evidence in your case, you still have rights. Additionally, there are strict laws in place that affect how police can search for and collect evidence. Violations of your personal rights or improper search and procedure efforts by Florida or federal law enforcement can undermine the entire case against you.
The limits to what law enforcement can do
The Constitution grants people certain rights regarding how law enforcement can search their property and seize evidence. It is beneficial to understand these rights so you can determine if there were any issues. According to the law, police can do the following things when investigating alleged criminal activity:
- Police can only search and seize a person's property to the point it is reasonable. Generally, there must be a reason to believe there was criminal activity.
- In many cases, police must have a search warrant signed by a judge in order to search private property.
- If it is not your property or you did not have grounds to expect privacy, the police have the right to search or take it for evidence.
The grounds by which police can secure a search warrant or how they determine the scope of a warrant differs on a case-by-case basis. In fact, it can be quite complex to determine if law enforcement handled and executed the search of your property in a proper and legal manner.
What can you do to protect yourself?
One of the most significant things you can do to protect yourself is to reach out for help as soon as possible after an arrest. Having an experienced defense lawyer by your side can help ensure the protection of your rights during the entire process. A careful review of the case and police procedures can reveal if there were any problems and if you should challenge the case against you.
It is smart to seek this help as early as possible, even if you are not yet facing formal charges. There can be significant benefit to protecting your interests, even if the case is still in the investigative stages.