When it comes to your rights, are you aware of your protections? Do you know what the Fourth Amendment is used for and how it could help a criminal case? At MayesTelles PLLC, we have seen numerous individuals come through our doors, most of whom did not know what their legal options were after an arrest. For many, an arrest signals the end of the road and they feel that there is nothing they can do to contest it. This is not true.
Our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have a responsibility to our clients to make sure they fully understand their rights after an arrest. Whether you were arrested for possession of a drug, possession of a weapon, or even cultivating marijuana, it is crucial to know that you may be protected by your Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment states the following:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What does this all mean? We’ll explain.
How the Fourth Amendment Helps in Criminal Cases
Here is the scenario: An officer pulls you over with no probable cause. The officer approaches the vehicle and forces you out so he or she can perform a search. They find marijuana or some other drug. You are arrested.
While many feel that this is a cut and dry case, it is not necessarily that simple. If an officer searches a vehicle with no probable cause, they are acting in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. If this is the case, the evidence seized during the traffic stop may not used during trial because it was not obtained lawfully.
Each state has their own standards when it comes to the Fourth Amendment, but Arizona has the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. This bill bans the use of data and evidence in state courts that was obtained as a result of illegal or warrantless methods.
If the officer were to have probable cause — such as speeding, swerving, or reckless driving — they may have a reason to search the vehicle. Furthermore, for the search of a home, if the officer was to be granted a warrant, they could also perform the search and any evidence found would be admissible in court.
At MayesTelles PLLC, our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers are well aware of the situations that occur in which searches are performed without warrants and without probable cause. This is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and we may be able to help your case get dismissed based on this unlawful search and seizure. If you were arrested and feel you have a case, call us today and discuss your situation with us. We offer free case evaluations and are available 24/7.