Criminal prosecutions are often based on evidence that is collected during the execution of a search warrant. Although the police certainly have the right to request a search warrant, certain requirements must be met before it can be determined that a search warrant can be legally issued. After all, the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ rights to unreasonable searches and seizures. When issues arise related to search warrants, accused individuals need to do everything they can to protect their legal rights. If they don’t, they may put their freedom in jeopardy.
One way to challenge evidence collected by the police is to utilize the exclusionary rule, if possible. This legal rule essentially allows a court to suppress evidence that is gathered subsequent to an illegal search. For example, a police officer, without a valid search warrant, enters the home of a suspected burglar. Upon entering the home, the officer finds not only stolen items related to the burglaries he is investigating, but also drugs and drug paraphernalia. The man is subsequently charged with burglary and drug crimes.
By arguing that the officer’s warrant was invalid or nonexistent and arguing that the exclusionary rule applies, the accused man may be able to convince a judge to throw out any evidence gathered after the officer entered the home. This would include the drugs, drug paraphernalia, and even the stolen items. In this example, utilizing the exclusionary rule has likely fatally damaged the prosecution’s case.
This legal tactic is just one of many that may be available to criminal defendants. To determine which strategies will work for a given situation, individuals who are accused of a crime should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. This also ensures a defendant’s rights are also protected in the defense process.