Americans are protected under the U.S. Constitution against unreasonable searches by the police. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy for police to try to justify a search after the fact by alleging that they found something related to criminal activity.
For example, Quincy police recently claimed to be investigating a crack cocaine distribution scheme when they raided the apartment of a resident in his mid-30s. They allegedly uncovered cocaine and other controlled substances, a gun and over a thousand dollars in cash. The gun, police suspected, was stolen from another state eight years ago.
Quincy police charged the man with numerous crimes. The charges ranged from possession and intent to distribute cocaine and other substances, to weapons charges, to being an “armed career criminal.” Not disclosed, however, was how Quincy officials established probable cause to conduct the search.
Probable cause to search someone’s property means that there is sufficient reason to believe that either a crime was committed there, or that there is evidence of a crime at the property. Probable cause is used to obtain a warrant to conduct a search. Without it, a defendant may challenge the admissibility of any purported “evidence” obtained by police during the search.
A criminal defense professional can help defendants stand up in court against overzealous officials who may violate constitutional rights in an effort to discover supposed “evidence” by whatever means necessary. While there are some factors that allow police to conduct a search and seizure without a warrant, these are only in certain very specific situations.
Source: The Patriot Ledger, “Quincy man arrested for cocaine distribution,” Jan. 15, 2018