Criminal Law >> Iowa Criminal Process >> Search and Seizure
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 someone completes a search warrant affidavit that gives the police department probable cause to believe that you’re engaged in criminal activity, 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 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 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.
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, police seizing evidence that’s in plain view, and more.
Motion to Suppress
If you think the police may have searched you in violation of your Constitutional rights, call an Iowa criminal defense attorney and ask if they can talk to you about your case. 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.
Iowa Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Iowa and you’d like to talk to us about your defense, call (515) 491 6128, click “chat now” on any page on this website, or go to the “Contact Us” page to send us an email.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, OWI, or other public offenses in Iowa, ask your attorney whether there are grounds to have any of the state’s evidence suppressed.
Criminal defense lawyers Katie Sears and John Sears in Des Moines IA and surrounding areas.
We can help you figure out what to do about your criminal charges in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
What will happen if I’m charged?
When someone alleges that you havec ommitted a crime, law enforcement will start an investigation.
The county sheriff’s department will take you into custody if they are aware that you have active warrants. The sheriff’s department does not have the latitude to decide whether or not to release you. Arrest records are available online in most Iowa jurisdictions, which will help your friends and family find out where you are if you are suddenly arrested.
Depending on whether they believe there is probable cause to charge you with Iowa crimes, you could be taken to jail or given documents that say when your court date is. After your arrest, you will be read your rights and given an opportunity to call a lawyer or a law firm.
You will be taken in front of the judge for an initial appearance. The judge will schedule a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will have the opportunity to ask a witness questions to establish whether probable cause exists to charge you with the offense. At this hearing, the witness will be under oath. There are reasons that your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. You should consult with them before making a decision.
You may be confined in a correctional facility before trial if you are unable to make bail or if the court doesn’t set bail. There are various factors the court may consider when deciding whether to set bail, such as the nature of your offense and any public safety concerns.
Depending on the nature of the allegations, there may be a protective order in place. If someone has a protective order against you and tries to contact you, you should contact the sheriff’s office right away. A law enforcement officer will take a police report. Police officers can’t provide legal advice, but they can take you – or the protected party, if they persist in violating a no contact order – to the county jail
Your attorney will let you know when you will next have to appear in front of the court. This may be for an arraignment or you may be able to submit a written arraignment.
The county attorney’s office will review the information provided to them by the police. They will determine what offenses to charge you with. You could be charged with a misdemeanor with a felony
Your attorney will let you know what the government is claiming you did, what your rights are, what the worst case scenario sentence could be, and how this could affect your criminal record. Your criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and collateral consequences that might apply.
Your law firm will give you legal advice on the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. The decision of whether or not to go to trial is ultimately yours.
If you choose to go to trial, your case will be tried in district court. The officer or officers who arrested you and investigated your case will be likely State witnesses.
If you are convicted or enter a guilty plea, you will be sentenced. After conviction, you could be directed to pay a fine, complete probation, or to detention in jail or prison.
If you are fined, the clerk’s office may be able to help you set up a payment plan.
After conviction, you might have reason and opportunity to appeal your conviction or sentence to the court of appeals or even to the Iowa Supreme Court. The Supreme Court might even say that there was a constitutional problem with the statute you were charged under. Ask your criminal defense attorney for more information.
What should I know about lawyers generally?
Attorneys are people who completed their bachelor’s or 4-year degrees and then went on to attend a law school, such as Drake University Law School in Des Moines. After completing law school, Iowa lawyers take the bar exam and are evaluated for character and fitness. Iowa lawyers are admitted to the Iowa state bar. The bar association regulates the legal profession.
Some lawyers and law firms do general practice, which means they accept all kind of representation. Some lawyers specialize in particular areas of law. A lawyer might do only civil practice or only criminal defense. Some lawyers get even more particular than that, practicing only (or primarily) in a narrow area, such as domestic violence, sex crime, sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, child abuse, indecent exposure, theft, family law, child custody, personal injury, possession of controlled substances, sex crimes, marijuana, DUI defense, arson, criminal mischief, vehicular homicide, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crime or drunk driving.
Many Iowa lawyers practice only in Iowa courts. All Iowa crimes are defined in the Iowa Code. The Iowa rules of criminal procedure control what happens in Iowa criminal justice cases.
Federal court is different. If you are facing federal charges for a federal criminal offense, make sure to let your Iowa lawyer know that so that they can give you referrals to other attorneys, if necessary. Federal courts in Iowa are not the same things as state law courts in Iowa. Federal prosecutors and federal judges use different procedural rules. Federal crimes are subject to federal sentencing.
What offenses exist in Iowa criminal law?
Criminal law offenses are divided into misdemeanors and felonies. Class A felonies exist, but most people facing felony charges are facing a class B felony, a class C felony, or a class D felony. If you have questions about Iowa arson laws, you should talk to a lawyer.
What can an Iowa lawyer do for me?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, you need to be in contact with an Iowa lawyer or a law firm that works with Iowa criminal law.
If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, your Iowa criminal defense attorney can help coordinate with law enforcement to coordinate a self-surrender that doesn’t result in potential embarrassment at work or while you’re home with your family.
Your Iowa felony lawyer will stay in touch with the county attorney’s office and let the prosecutor know whether you choose to exercise or waive your right to speedy trial. Further, counsel can provide some guidance on whether it’s advisable in your position to consider a plea agreement or to go to trial. They will talk to you about whether a judge or jury is likely to find a particular witness credible.
Your criminal lawyer will let you know what sort of jail time you might be facing if convicted, how this will impact your criminal history, and how likely it is that you could get your charges dismissed.
Finally, there is a Victim Services Support Program available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.