Illegal Search and Seizure of Property Attorney in Denver, Colorado
When is it legal? When is it an illegal search of my property? What is search and seizure? A legal search warrant is issued by a judge or magistrate to law enforcement for the purpose of locating a fugitive, defendant or obtaining admissible evidence to support a criminal charge against an individual.
Philip M. Smith • Attorney • Denver, Colorado
Illegal Searches of Person and Seizure of Property
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You are entitled to your right to privacy but the circumstance under which a search is conducted is not always clear and concise. Law enforcement must provide sufficient, reliable information through their own observations or reports from others, including confidential informants to show probable cause in order for a magistrate or judge to issue a warrant for a search and seizure of you and your property.
The State and Federal constitutions protect us from unreasonable search and seizure. A warrant will usually make a search “reasonable.” Searches and seizures of persons or property without a warrant require careful legal review to determine “reasonable.” This is a very complex area of law and you need a seasoned, aggressive criminal defense attorney to sift through the allegations brought against you and determine if the search or seizure was legal.
Philip M. Smith has over 32 years of legal experience as a judge, district attorney, and a private attorney practicing in all areas of criminal defense law.
Illegal Search Example: A police officer come to your home looking for a fugitive known to reside at this address who has a drug possession charge. No one is home. Because the police have probable cause they have the right to look into windows, observe any activity or evidence inside the home without entering the dwelling. This is illegal.
Illegal Search Example: Police return to the residence with a search warrant. The fugitive answers the door and attempts to run. One officer pursues the fugitive and the other officer enters the dwelling to clear the house to make sure no one is present that may harm the officers. In doing so, he sees, in plain view, drugs, paraphernalia, a large amount of cash and a weapon. The fugitive is taken to jail and the evidence seized. This is probably a legal search and seizure.
Illegal Search Example: A full SWAT team has a search warrant for a yellow house at #3 Oak Street. In their haste, the entire SWAT team and police officers do a No Knock raid on a red house at #5 Oak Street. Obviously, this was a blatant error and an illegal search was conducted on the wrong house on Oak Street.
Search and Seizure Issues
There are constitutional rights that may become an issue if you have been subjected to an illegal property search. Did you consent to the search? Was your search based on probable cause? Was the search warrant executed properly? Were there exigent circumstances that warranted a search and were they apparent? Were items seized improperly?
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Attorney Philip M. Smith
Additionally, your expectation of privacy is based on a sliding scale that is determined by circumstance. For instance, you are most protected while in your own residence, but when you are being screened at the airport; your privacy is secondary to the security of everyone else.
I know how to evaluate each case on its individual Colorado merits. If you have become a victim of an illegal property search and seizure, I will examine the warrant, police reports and the prosecutors file to determine if there are critical flaws in the execution of the warrant. The search must be was reasonable and your right to privacy respected. A motion to suppress the evidence may be appropriate under the exclusionary rule. This ruling means the seized evidence is excluded and not admissible at trial. I am dedicated to protecting your rights and liberty.
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If you need a Criminal Attorney to discuss an Colorado illegal search and seizure or if you have questions about a search warrant, I encourage you to contact me, Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer, Philip M. Smith, 303-333-8900 today for a free and confidential initial consultation.