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What Does ‘Search and Seizure’ Mean?

Our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers explain the rules regarding search and seizure in Georgia and your rights under The U.S. Constitution.

Search and seizure is a standard practice in Georgia criminal matters and allows law enforcement agencies to obtain evidence and arrest people suspected of being involved in criminal activities. However, there are strict rules and regulations regarding when search and seizure is permitted and how police and investigators will go about the process. Our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers explain more about the process and your rights when facing this situation.

Rules Regarding Search and Seizure in Georgia

When criminal activity is suspected, or police have reasonable suspicion to believe you may have committed a crime, they may conduct a search and seizure. This generally involves searching your person, your home, your vehicle, or your place of business in an attempt to either stop criminal activity or to gather evidence that may be used against you in pressing criminal charges.

There are strict rules regarding search and seizure under the Georgia Code of Criminal Procedure, which law enforcement officials and prosecutors must follow. These include:

  • Police may conduct a search of you and your property by first obtaining your consent;
  • If you refuse consent, they may conduct a search if they have reasonable suspicion to believe you are actively engaged in a crime;
  • If neither of the above applies, the police must then obtain a warrant through a judge;
  • To obtain a warrant, law enforcement must provide reasonable cause for it to be issued;
  • You are entitled to receive a copy of this warrant before the search is conducted;
  • The scope of the search is limited by the terms of the warrant, which may prevent them from searching your vehicle or certain areas of your home;
  • Police are entitled to seize certain items as part of their search, provided they were either in clear view or in a location covered by the warrant and are relevant to building a criminal case against you.

Protections Against Illegal Search and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your rights against illegal search and seizure. This prevents law enforcement from engaging in any of the following:

  • Stopping you without reasonable suspicion;
  • Detaining you without reasonable cause;
  • Conducting random searches of your person or property;
  • Failing to go through the proper channels in obtaining search warrants;
  • Using any evidence obtained during an illegal search in criminal proceedings.

Examining search warrants, reviewing how they were conducted, and the evidence obtained as a result play a key role in your criminal defense. If the proper procedures were not followed, it could result in evidence against you being thrown out in court and criminal charges being dropped. 

Have Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers Review Your Case

Illegal search and seizure is common and could play a major role in preventing a conviction. To protect yourself and your rights, have Ghanayem & Rayasam review your case. To request a consultation, call or contact our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers online today.