Search and Seizure

Search and Seizure in Des Moines

Evidence Suppression for Case Dismissal

Law enforcement agencies are always looking for probable cause of criminal activity to justify seeking an Iowa search warrant.  If police illegally searched you or your property, a licensed Iowa attorney can ask the judge to exclude the evidence they found.

If someone completes a search warrant application that gives the police department probable cause to believe that they'll find evidence of a crime, a magistrate or other judge could sign off on an arrest warrant or on a search warrant. 

Depending on whether the police are searching for you (to arrest you) or for evidence to support a criminal charge, a police officer might even give you a call to let you know that they’re bringing the criminal investigation to your doorstep.  The County sheriff’s office probably won’t let you know that investigators are on their way if they plan to search your person or property for drug paraphernalia, illegal drugs or other evidence of drug trafficking, or other drug crimes under Iowa law.  They might, however, give you a call if they’re looking to arrest you.

If you've been charged with a crime in Iowa, your attorney will consider the details of your case before advising you about what to do.

Many police searches require warrants, but some don't.  If police did something wrong, some evidence against you may not be admissible at trial. If the state doesn't have enough admissible evidence to convict you, your case may be dismissed.

A dismissal is the best outcome you can hope for in a criminal case.  It's important to understand your rights.

Iowa Constitutional Rights and Police Search Warrant Requirement

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees your right to be safe from unreasonable seizures and searches.” Article 1, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution guarantees the same right. If the police search you or your belongings, they often need a warrant.  (A police search warrant is different than a bench warrant.)

The police may not need a warrant if you or someone else consents to a search. If an officer asks for your permission to look around, you should tell him or her that you don't consent to any searches. If you don't consent to a search but the police search anyway, your attorney will talk to you about if this helps your case.

In addition to police searches you consented to, there are other times the police can search and take evidence without a warrant. These times include searches that happen when you're being arrested, searches following an exigent circumstance, a law enforcement officer seizing evidence that's in plain view, and more.

Motions to Suppress After Police Searches

If you think the police may have searched you in violation of your fourth amendment Constitutional rights, call an Iowa criminal defense attorney. A lawyer evaluate whether or not there was an unreasonable search. A lawyer may be able to write a motion to suppress evidence. Suppressing an illegal search could end your case entirely and get your life back to normal. It's important to talk about whether any searches that happened to you were unconstitutional.

Illegal searches sometimes follow traffic stops.

In reviewing a search or seizure, your lawyer will consider many factors:

  • Was this a warrantless search?
  • Did the law enforcement agent have
  • Did the magistrate have probable cause supporting a warrant's issuance?
  • Was the search unreasonable under the circumstances?
  • Did you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area searched?
  • Did the officer have reasonable cause or reasonable suspicion?
  • Was the law enforcement official aware of illegal contraband, drug possession, or other illegal activity?
  • Did the affidavit comport with legal requirements?

If your seizure attorney concludes that an unlawful search may have violated your 4th amendment protections, she may ask the judge in your criminal cases to apply the exclusionary rule.

If you've been charged with a crime in Iowa and want to talk to us about an illegal police search, call (515) 200-2787 or contact us online.

Charged with a crime in iowa? We can help!

Call (515) 200-2787 today for a free initial consultation.

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