Was the search illegal? What can my friend do? 12 Answers as of May 27, 2013

My friend was arrested for endangerment to a child. The police walked into the house without being invited and told they needed a search warrant to come in. They did not have one and said everyone must come outside while they searched for some kind of electronic stuff was pending in front of the judge. They found a pipe and later some pot, about 28.6 grams. A search warrant that was signed, timed, and dated was never produced even though the search was objected to from the beginning. Without a search warrant and being ushered outside, there was no time to put the pipe in a secure area to avoid the charge.

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
The cops have a problem if the search was illegal. Get a lawyer and fight the matter.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/27/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Your question requires an attorney consultation. It is not a simple question that can be answered on this type of forum. There are many factors that would need to be considered and evaluated. I strongly suggest that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation. He/she would then be in a better position to analyze your case and advise you of your options.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2013
William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
Maybe. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to go to trial.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 5/24/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Your friend can hire a lawyer to make a motion to suppress the evidence seized in the search. However, this will be a difficult motion to win. The police will argue that exigent circumstances justified the search, including potential danger to a child and the likelihood that critical evidence would be hidden or destroyed. Indeed, this question admits that the problem was lack of time to hide the evidence. I doubt if any judge will be very sympathetic to this motion, but it is at least possible that it could be won. Your friend will need to retain criminal defense counsel to represent her-and this will be expensive. These motions take a long time to write and following the motion, there would be a suppression hearing with live witnesses (which is an expensive process), Think at least $25,000 to prepare the motion and conduct the hearing.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/24/2013
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
The search warrant need not be produced at the time of the search if in fact there is one. If there was no warrant then there are only two legal ways to conduct the search, consent, or an emergency.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/23/2013
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber | Marshall Tauber
    The search, you have described, is certainly subject to challenge in court if you have been charged with possession or possession with intent to deliver marijuana. Was a search warrant ever issued, even after the fact? If not, the police would have to verify that their search fall under certain known exceptions to the search and seizure laws in order for the arrest or charge to be considered valid.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
    If your friend believes that the search was illegal, then the evidence seized has to be challenged in a proceeding in court. You have to show that it was an illegal search and that there was no probable cause or search warrant to search the premises when the items were found. So, your friend's attorney must challenge this evidence during the criminal court proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Law Offices of Laurie A. Schmidt, P.C. | Laurie Schmidt
    The issue is not a timing issue, aka having time to put away the pipe. The issue is that you have a constitutionally protected right to privacy in your own home. If, at the time of entry there was no warrant the search could be declared illegal and thus anything found in the search. If the cops were in the process of obtaining a search warrant; but did not yet have one, the search is illegal. There are a few exceptions to the warrant requirement, when police can search without a warrant. One would be an emergency, such as someone in need of medical attention. From your question, it does not sound like that would be the case. However, if the search was illegal, your friend needs to file a Motion to Suppress the Search. This should be done by a criminal defense attorney. If your friend cannot afford an attorney, she/he may qualify for the services of the public defender's office.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    So, those who have been charged as a result of this ostensibly illegal search of a private residence by law enforcement,each should have competent criminal defense counsel representing him or her and who should be able to determine whether a Motion to Suppress the evidence that was seized from this particular search should in fact be filed.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    I would need more facts about the case and what led to the search.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    To search a home the police need a search warrant, reasonable cause to suspect that a person is being held against their will, being hurt, or in danger of being killed, that evidence is going to be destroyed, or that they saw evidence of a crime from a place they had a legal right to be. From what you wrote the search was illegal.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Chambers Law Firm
    Chambers Law Firm | Dan E. Chambers
    You may have a good case for a motion to suppress the evidence. But more facts are needed and you should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/23/2013
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