What are the Probable Causes for a Search and Seizure in Maryland?
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Maryland law helps to set out the specific conditions that must be met for a search of your person or property to be legal. If these conditions are not met by the arresting police officer, the court may determine that the search was illegal. In these circumstances, evidence obtained during the illegal search may not be admissible in a court of law.
The search and seizure provisions in the Fourth Amendment are intended to protect your privacy. This is why “unreasonable” searches and seizures are not permitted. However, you are not protected from searches and seizures that are deemed “reasonable.” In other words, the police may be able to search your home, vehicle, or other private property if:
- They have probable cause to believe they may discover evidence that you committed a crime, and a judge has issued a search warrant, or
- The situation justifies the search without the court’s issue of a warrant.
What Constitutes Probable Cause?
By definition, probable cause is defined as “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” The doctrine of probable cause establishes the standards by which a police officer has the power to make an arrest, search your person or property, or obtain an arrest warrant.
If you believe that your arresting officer lacked probable cause to search your property, the Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Jimeno & Gray, P.A., can help you fight the charges in court.
Legitimate Expectation of Privacy
In order to be protected under the Fourth Amendment, there must be a legitimate expectation of privacy. This means that anything left in plain sight, at a place where the police are lawfully present could be used as a basis to conduct a further search or to seize the contraband.
The courts will consider the following questions when determining whether you had a legitimate expectation of privacy at the time of your search:
- Did you actually expect some degree of privacy?
- Is your expectation of privacy recognized by society as reasonable?
The Importance of Legal Representation
If you believe that you have been the victim of an illegal search and seizure, it is important to hire experienced legal representation immediately. The Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Jimeno & Gray, P.A., are both former prosecutors and understand the tactics used to secure your conviction. We can analyze the specifics of your arrest to determine whether or not the police officer acted lawfully during your search and seizure. If there was no probable cause for your search, we can help prevent any evidence obtained from being used against you.
Please contact our Maryland criminal defense attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation. Jimeno & Gray, P.A., serves clients in the Baltimore, Annapolis, Glen Burnie, and Ellicot City, Maryland areas.