The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 12 of the New York Constitution prevent illegal searches and seizures by placing limits on the power of the police and other government agents. A NY Criminal Lawyer believes it is important that you understand your right to be free from unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures. This article offers a general explanation of search and seizure law.
Protecting Your Privacy
The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures applies only when a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy. New York law expands on this by identifying four levels of interaction between government agents and private citizens, which establish when and how you may be searched and your property seized. At the first level an officer may approach you to request general information, such as identity, address, or destination, but only when there is an “objective credible reason.”
At the second level, questions may delve deeper to gain explanatory information, but only if the officer has a “founded suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.”
At the third level, the individual may be detained if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.
At the fourth level, an officer is allowed to make an arrest, so long as he has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. The laws on search and seizure can be complicated, but a NY criminal lawyer can analyze the facts and circumstances of your particular case to determine if an unlawful search and seizure has occurred.
What Happens When a Search is Unlawful
If, upon review, the court finds that an unlawful search and seizure has occurred, evidence seized as a result of the search is generally inadmissible as direct evidence against a defendant under what is known as the “exclusionary rule.” Further, any additional evidence that is derived from the initial evidence illegally seized, is also inadmissible at trial. A skilled NY criminal lawyer can determine if a motion to suppress evidence exists based on the facts of your case, and can assist you in matters where it does.
Contact a NY Criminal Lawyer
In the pursuit of evidence, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to disregard search and seizure laws. However, doing so violates the rights of the accused. There is much at stake if you have been subject to an illegal search. If you or your property has been searched already, you should contact a experienced NY criminal lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected. You can reach Frederick L. Sosinsky for assistance by calling (212) 285-2770 today.