Evidence Obtained in a Private Search Could Be Used to Convict You of a Crime

Evidence Obtained in a Private Search Could Be Used to Convict You of a Crime

Evidence Obtained in a Private Search Could Be Used to Convict You of a Crime

The Fourth Amendment generally protects people from arbitrary search and seizure, with a few exceptions. This means that a judge must approve and issue a search warrant before a police officer can search your home for evidence of a crime. The Fourth Amendment, however, solely affects activities taken by the government; it has no bearing on private searches.

What does it mean when someone conducts a personal search, discovers evidence, and turns it over? Call Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 as soon as possible for a legal consultation if this occurs in your particular criminal case. Otherwise, read on to learn what might occur in this kind of circumstance.

You are not protected from private searches by the Fourth Amendment

People are only protected by the US Constitution from governmental intervention. Because only government activities are protected by the law, “freedom of speech” arguments cannot be invoked against people or organizations who are “censoring” people. Due to this, neither you nor anybody else can be shielded from a private search of their possessions by the Fourth Amendment.

Why the private search doctrine is important

According to the private search doctrine, if a government search is followed by a private search, the Fourth Amendment is not violated. The initial, private search’s parameters cannot be exceeded by the government’s investigation. It is impossible for the private party who discovered the original evidence to be working with the government agency.

For instance, a significant shipping corporation in the US experienced a situation when a cargo container was destroyed. The workers discovered numerous tubes packed with bags of white powder when they opened the shipment to repackage it for transit. When they got in touch with the authorities, they discovered that the drug was cocaine.

Because the narcotics were found in a private search and the police’s search was restricted to what was found in the private search, the evidence could be utilized against the individual who sent and/or received the drugs.

There are other options for defense

A person accused of a crime for which a private citizen discovered evidence sometimes assumes that this evidence cannot be used in court. According to the facts above, that is typically not the case. The possibility that the evidence might be utilized against you does not preclude you from mounting a defense.

Your best option if you are accused of a crime is to speak with a criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your alternatives. Call Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 at your earliest convenience to arrange a legal consultation.