Can You Sue a Cop for an Illegal Search?
An illegal search is whereby police officers go through your car or house without a warrant or a probable cause. For instance, you’re cruising on the highway then a cop pulls you over yet you weren’t over speeding. He orders you to step outside then goes ahead to open your glove compartment and check under your seats. Can you sue this cop for an illegal search? Yes, you should!
Police officers have to identify a probable cause before searching your car or home. Probable cause refers to a genuine reason that points to criminal activity. For instance, someone in your neighborhood calls to report on missing electronics. If the police spot a car within the same area loaded with household electronics in the back seat, they have a probable cause to search without a warrant.
1. How to build a case after an illegal search
What should you do after reaching out to a qualified criminal attorney?
1. Provide evidence
Does your home have CCTV cameras? If yes, that’s great because you need this footage to prove how the police officers violated your right to privacy. An officer has to display a search warrant before entering your house. If the clip just shows officers pushing you aside while kicking the door, the defendant’s testimony loses credibility.
If you had a friend or relative who recorded the incident on their phone, make sure you present this footage to your lawyer. Why? Because it will help in identifying the police officers who came to your house and conducted the illegal search. Plus, it also shows the full extent of property damages.
2. Tell your attorney everything
In this situation, you can only trust your attorney with information. Police detectives are eager to use anything you said against you during a court trial. So, that’s why you should maintain complete transparency during your attorney appointments.
Your attorney will want to know why the police suspect you. Perhaps it could be due to associating yourself with targeted criminals. He or she will want to know how you make your living and where you frequent.
3. Avoid talking to the police without the presence of your criminal attorney
Sometimes, police officers resort to dirty tricks when their investigations hit dead ends. You might experience harassment in form of phone calls or unpleasant visits from detectives who want you to change your statement or confess to a crime.
It’s your responsibility to stand your ground when a cop shows up to your door demanding a confession. How do you do this? By flatly refusing to answer any question until your attorney arrives. Don’t answer even when the cop wants to know your name.
4. Avoid any contacts with other suspects
During a police investigation, officers keep a close eye on suspects. If it’s a major case, then the police might place secret cameras around suspects’ homes for 24-hour surveillance. Any text message, phone call or meeting with fellow suspects in a trial will raise more suspicion.
2. How will your criminal attorney defend you in court?
1. Prove the absence of probable cause
An attorney will analyze your testimony and police accounts for any probable cause. This involves looking at all the information the police gathered about you to check for criminal activity. Your attorney whether the police obtained a search warrant to ransack your home.
In addition to checking police reports, your attorney will watch CCTV or smartphone videos to see if there was any reason to raise a probable cause.
2. Prove that the police violated your 4th Amendment rights
The 4th Amendment entitles each citizen to a right of privacy inside their homes. It also includes any property or persons found inside a house. During the trial, your attorney will establish how the police violated your 4th Amendment rights by cross-examination and watching CCTV or smartphone-recorded videos.
Your attorney will speak to people present in your home during the incident. He or she will ask these witnesses whether the police displayed any search warrant. Also, did you allow the police to enter or did they kick the door open to gain forceful entry?
3. Show how the police acted with malice
In criminal cases, malice refers to a situation whereby a police officer deliberately conducts an illegal arrest or search. He or she intentionally refuses to get a warrant or accurately identify a probable cause for breaking and ransacking your home.
Your attorney will analyze your statement and witness testimonies to see whether malice took place. For instance, where an officer physically assaults a suspect just because the victim demanded to see a search warrant.
4. Assess your damages
Malicious police officers lack respect for other people’s property. That’s why they kick down doors, flip over tables, and knock family pictures off walls. If drugs are involved, these officers will rip open your couch and mattress with sharp penknives.
Your attorney will hire professionals to do a property damage assessment. He or she will get a qualified medical expert witness to show how the illegal search inflicted you and your family with emotional distress.
3. Avoid these mistakes during your trial
1. Talking about your ongoing case on social media
The court forbids you or the defendant from discussing your ongoing trial with friends, the media, and relatives. Obeying this law prevents irrelevant parties from interfering with the trial. No matter how tough things get, don’t rush to Facebook or Instagram to pour out your frustrations because the prosecution will monitor you.
2. Ask to change your statement
Doing this raises concerns over your honesty. It creates a chance for the police to poke several holes in your case.
Get a criminal attorney today!
No one has the right to deny you access to a criminal attorney of your choice. So, don’t delay any longer hoping for the case to disappear on its own. A qualified criminal attorney will prove your innocence in court by proving how police officers invaded your home without a warrant or probable cause of arrest.