Living free from unlawful search and seizure is a common right for all Ame- rican citizens. However, the unfortunate reality is that hundreds of these happen every year regard- less of whether there was a lawful motive or not. That is why it is important, in today’s society, to challenge any and every wrongful search that takes place. So, if this happens to you, here’s what you need to know.
What Is an Unlawful Search and Seizure?
As a simple explanation, an unlawful search and seizure is carried out by an officer of the law who lacks crucial evidence. As per the Fourth Amendment, you are legally protected if you are subject to this event as long as you have the proof to back your claim. While some searches and seizures are necessary, police officers must always have supportive evidence to prove what they are doing is above board and completely justified.
Why Should These Be Challenged?
These incidents should always be challenged to the fullest extent, and the law is on your side if you are right. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, unlawful searches are highly degrading, and this unjust treatment must not be left unchecked. Secondly, these events can and often do have a traumatic impact on the individual. Typical consequences include the psychological impact leading to PTSD, mistrust, and general anxiety which is both invasive and detrimental to the victim. It is vital that law enforcement upholds the law, but morally and fairly for all involved.
When Are Search and Seizures Acceptable?
The frame of reference for a legal search and seizure is often at the officer in question’s discretion. Though there are stringent guidelines to follow, the general consensus is that if illegal activity is suspected, for instance, a person is acting suspiciously and is well known to the department for drug related crime, a search may be initiated. This can be on an individual person, a car, or even a student in a school setting if the need arises.
If You Think You Were Treated Unjustly
The first step to take is to gather your evidence. This is anything that represents why you believe you were stopped and searched illegally, and everything that you collect will be observed and used to support your case if relevant.
Talk to an Attorney
After this, you can get in touch with a professional attorney who understands the ins and outs of wrongful search and seizure incidents. This is the best place to receive the most relevant advice about how to proceed in the days to come. This conversation should be guided by fact, though it is important to show how you have been impacted emotionally by the event as well.
It is only natural to need support after a traumatic event, and you should find some as soon as possible. This will help you stay grounded and heal while you tackle the next stage of the investigation.
Wrongful searches need to be challenged, and that’s a fact. There is no justification for treating someone as a criminal without just cause, and the consequences of such an act are devastating.