Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Search And Seizures
What Makes Us Different
A search of your vehicle after a traffic stop may have found marijuana or heroin. Gwinnett County law enforcement may have showed up at your door with a search warrant. The facts differ, but if you have been charged with a drug crime in Georgia you probably have questions.
This is not the time to trust the advice and counsel of a friend who thinks the search was illegal. Your future depends on the action you take immediately after a charge. You need the individualized counsel of a proficient Georgia criminal defense lawyer.
At Philip Kim Law, P.C., in Gwinnett County, we hear all sorts of misperceptions about search and seizure law. Here are a couple of general answers.
Our attorney is only one phone call away at (678) 203-6968. Initial consultations are free of charge.
What Are Your Fourth Amendment Rights?
The Fourth Amendment provides many protections to individuals during drug searches, seizures and detentions. It prevents items that were unlawfully seized from being used against you as evidence in a criminal case. How much protection you have under the Fourth Amendment will vary based on your case and the circumstances of your arrest.
When Do Your Fourth Amendment Rights Apply?
The Fourth Amendment offers constitutional protections during the following situations:
- An individual walking down the street is stopped for police questioning.
- A police officer searches an individual’s trunk after pulling them over for a minor traffic infraction.
- An individual gets arrested.
- Police officers enter a private residence or business to search for evidence without a warrant.
- Police officers enter a private residence to place someone under arrest.
- An individual’s personal property or vehicle was confiscated by police officers and placed under police control.
In most cases, a police officer must have one of the following before they can legally search or seize an individual or their property:
- A search warrant
- An arrest warrant
- Probable cause
Do Law Enforcement Officers Always Need A Warrant?
No, there are many exceptions to the warrant requirement. One of the more common exception relates to automobile searches. Generally, if an officer has a reasonable suspicion, or is impounding a vehicle, a search can occur without the need for a warrant.
Other instances where law enforcement does not need a warrant include:
- You consented to the search
- Search was conducted in connection with an arrest
- Emergency situation, if imminent danger is present
- Contraband is in plain view
These exceptions are very fact-specific. For example, whether a motorcycle was parked on a street or in a driveway can make a significant difference.
Before You Make Any Statement
You have heard this before and we will say it again: anything you say can and will be used against you. If you are accused of a drug charge, including possession, sale, manufacturing or trafficking under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, get immediate legal advice. Contact us online or by telephone at (678) 203-6968 to arrange your free initial consultation with a skilled drug crime defense attorney in Gwinnett County.