One of the most basic rights Americans have, enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, prohibits law enforcement from conducting an “unreasonable search or seizure” without a warrant probable cause. However, there are numerous loopholes in this protection, foremost among them that police do not need a warrant if you allow them to search your property of your own free will. Here are five reasons you may not want to comply with a police request to search your property:
- Police are not your friend
- Law enforcement officers are happy to put on a friendly face for people when they are trying to be let inside your home. However, no matter how friendly they seem at first, they will happily use whatever they find in your home to pressure you into further cooperation, assuming they do not simply try to arrest you. If you do not allow them inside in the first place, they cannot use anything in your home against you.
- Law enforcement will not remind you of your rights
- While police are legally required to inform people of their Miranda rights when they are being arrested, they have no obligation to remind people of their rights beforehand. They are happy to let people’s ignorance of criminal and constitutional law guide them into making self-destructive mistakes. You have a right to keep police from searching your property unless they have a warrant, but you need to remind them of that right if you want to protect yourself from their abuses.
- You do not know what the police already have
- Police will lie about how much evidence they have whenever they are talking to other people, making them believe the police already know everything. The truth is that police often will try to convince people to let them search their property because they don’t have enough evidence for a warrant. If they truly have that kind of evidence, make them show it by getting a warrant first.
- You do not know what they will find
- Some people are comfortable letting police search their homes because they believe they have nothing to hide. The fact of the matter is that you never truly know what the police will find when they search your property. What may start as an innocent search can turn into serious legal problems, and far faster than most people may realize.
- It will make it easier for you to defend yourself in court
- Finally, one of the biggest advantages is that it is far easier to contest evidence obtained from a warrant than from a voluntary search. If the search was done through a warrant, you can contest the legality of the warrant and potentially get any evidence they found excluded from use at trial. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to contest evidence from a voluntary search. However, the best way to protect yourself is to contact a New York criminal lawyer, who can help you defend yourself in court.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need legal counsel to help you preserve your rights and work to get the best possible outcome for your matter. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.