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The Fourth Amendment and privacy rights in criminal cases

When building a solid criminal defense, it is important to screen a case for the possibility of Fourth Amendment violations. As readers may know, the Fourth Amendment is supposed to provide protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires that all warrants are supported by probable cause and specifically describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment issues can come up in a variety of cases in a number of ways. In any criminal case, it is important for a defendant to scrutinize the police work that went into their case to ensure that any incriminating evidence was obtained legally. Evidence which is illegally obtained can be excluded from trial, so defendants need to be prepared to challenge such evidence. 

In drunken driving cases, for instance, it is important to determine whether the police investigation was conducted correctly from start to finish, beginning with the decision to stop the suspect’s vehicle, through the arrest and collection of evidence regarding blood alcohol concentration, and everything in between. Any missteps can raise Fourth Amendment issues which may need to be addressed at trial.

Similarly, in cases involving drug charges, it is not uncommon for privacy issues to arise in connection with searches that result in recovery of incriminating evidence. When that evidence is obtained as a result of abusing a suspect’s privacy rights, it can be challenged in court.

Knowing what to look for when scrutinizing police work is important, and working with an experienced criminal defense attorney ensures that a defendant has the guidance and advocacy necessary to protect their rights. 

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