Lara Bracamonte Davila

Doing What Is Right For You

What makes a search and seizure unlawful?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Criminal Law

To attain a conviction, prosecutors must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The best way for law enforcement to meet this standard is to first collect evidence, and this means obtaining a search warrant for the suspected person’s home, office, vehicle or other property. Under Texas Crim. Pro. Code Sec. 18.01(f), the search warrant affidavit must:

  • Contain the facts required to establish probable cause.
  • That there was a specific offense committed and victim of the offense.
  • That evidence of evidence or specific person committing the offense can be detected by photographic means.
  • That person to be searched and photographed is at the place to be searched.

Warrants must provide detailed information about what law enforcement is expecting to find in the area. If law enforcement exceeds the scope of the approved warrant, any evidence officers find may be inadmissible in court.

Exceptions to the warrant requirement

Law enforcement officers do not necessarily require a search warrant to conduct a lawful search. There are several exceptions to the warrant requirement, including:

  • Consent to search the property from person with authority to give consent
  • Search is incident to a lawful arrest
  • Evidence is in plain view
  • Automobile or container in automobile
  • Exigent circumstances, where an emergency requires an immediate search

What happens if a search is unlawful?

If you are subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure, you and your criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence recovered as a direct result of the unlawful conduct. If the motion is granted, the evidence may not be used against you by prosecutors. Without that evidence, your conviction will be a lot less likely.