There may be nothing more crucial to a criminal investigation than a search. Searches can uncover hidden evidence or make critical connections between a person and a crime. They can also clear someone of criminal suspicion.
Not surprisingly, law enforcement agencies rely on searches enormously when it comes to investigating allegations of misconduct. However, there are very strict laws in place to ensure that a person's rights will be protected during a search. It can be crucial to not only be aware of these laws, but also to understand how violations of these laws can be violations of a person's rights.
There are laws in place that govern every step of a search, from approving a search warrant to delivering it, and from executing the warrant to handling materials seized in the search.
For example, a search warrant must be authorized by a judge and only if probable cause exists. The warrant must be served by officers and can only be served on a Sunday if authorized by the judge who authorized the warrant. During a search, officers must stay within the confines of the items or spaces named in a warrant, and a complete inventory of any items taken must be kept.
These are just a few aspects of searches and search warrants that are specifically addressed in Florida laws. There are many other statutes and limits in place that most people are unaware of or do not fully understand.
If you are under investigation for offenses including computer crime or possession of child pornography, it is quite likely that there will be a search conducted to examine and confiscate electronic devices in your home, office and even your personal vehicle.
Should you be in this situation, it can be crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to examine search procedures. In some cases, it is possible to prove that your rights were violated during a search or that it was executed improperly. In these situations, any alleged evidence collected during the course of a flawed search could be dismissed, which can greatly affect the charges and penalties you could be facing.