As heroin abuse continues to skyrocket in many states, including Ohio, New Jersey, and in the District of Columbia, drug arrests are also becoming more common as police seek to curb the distribution of narcotics.
But as police focus more on arrests, the question is whether those arrests were performed lawfully.
Because when you are arrested, the presumption is that everything was handled according to the law, but in some instances that isn’t true, especially when it comes to the search and seizures.
That’s why it’s so important to understand what constitutes a legal search and arrest, so that you can determine if your rights were violated.
What Is a Legal Search and Seizure In Drug Arrests?
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures from the government. This is includes police behavior when it comes to making arrests based on searches of people and property.
If you’ve been arrested on drug charges, the police must have had probable cause to either search you or your property.
Probable cause refers to the belief on the part of any reasonable person that you committed a crime or that you will commit a crime in the near future.
Therefore in a drug arrest, probable cause can rise out of a police officer’s direct observation of drugs, circumstantial evidence that you have drugs, witness information that you are possessing drugs, or your consent to a search.
In most instances, a police officer with probable cause does not need a search warrant to search you or your property.
The other standard that police use for detaining a suspect is reasonable suspicion, which refers to the belief on the part of a reasonable police officer that you committed a crime based on that officer’s training and experience.
However, under the reasonable suspicion standard, police officers are only permitted to briefly detain and frisk a suspect. If police officers develop probable cause during this detention, they are then allowed to make an arrest and search a suspect’s property.
There is a fine line between probable cause and reasonable suspicion, and the actions of police officers often comes under scrutiny when judges determine whether an arrest was lawful.
Mounting An Aggressive Defense
Many things can happen after drug arrests, but the most important thing to do when you are taken into custody is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. The fact that you were arrested on drug charges does not mean that the police followed proper legal procedure during the arrest or during a search of your car or your property. The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC has the lawyers, investigators and resources to challenge law enforcement on every aspect of your arrest, including the possibility that evidence was obtained through an illegal search. Please call us today at 202-331-0793 for a free legal consultation.