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Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > Fourth Amendment Violations in Indiana Drug Cases

Fourth Amendment Violations in Indiana Drug Cases


Being charged with a drug crime in Indiana is a serious thing. An Indiana drug crime conviction can have severe consequences. Possible consequences of a drug crime conviction in Indiana include imprisonment, fines, probation, and loss of professional licenses. Being convicted of a drug crime can also result in a criminal record that can have a lasting impact on several aspects of your life, including housing, employment, and education. Fortunately, after you are charged with a drug crime, there are ways you can defend yourself. By working with a skilled defense attorney, you can raise several defenses. One of the common ways of defending against drug charges is arguing that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, and challenging evidence collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

What Are Your Fourth Amendment Rights?

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against illegal searches and seizures by the government. Generally, the police need a warrant issued by a judge to conduct a search and seizure. To obtain a search warrant, the police must provide probable cause. Probable cause means there are enough facts and circumstances to make a reasonable person believe a crime has occurred or is about to be occur. However, there are times when the police are legally allowed to conduct searches and seizures even if they don’t have a warrant. Exceptions include searches conducted with consent, exigent circumstances, such as imminent danger, and searches incident to lawful arrest. Additionally, the “plain view” doctrine allows the police to seize evidence that is readily observable.

What Fourth Amendment Violations Look Like in Drug Cases

Simply put, Fourth Amendment violations in drug cases are usually not obvious.  Searches and seizures by law enforcement are controlled by statutory law, case law, and police procedure. The average person’s knowledge is limited to what is portrayed on entertainment television.  A skilled criminal defense attorney in Indiana can review your case for violations of your Fourth Amendment rights.  Examples of violations include;

  • The police conducted a search and seizure without a warrant or probable cause
  • The police seized evidence that was not readily observable
  • The police conducted a search even after you refused to consent
  • The police exceeded the scope of the search warrant

How a Fourth Amendment Violation Can Help Your Drug Case

A violation of your Fourth Amendment rights can be crucial in your Indiana drug case. The prosecutor cannot use evidence obtained through an illegal search or seizure. If evidence was obtained through an unlawful search or seizure, you could have the evidence suppressed.  Evidence that is “suppressed,” cannot be used against you in a trial.  The exclusion of evidence will result in a dismissal of your case, if the prosecutor decides they no longer have enough evidence to convict you.

Proving a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights is not an easy task. To convince a judge that a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights has occurred, you need the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing drug crime charges in Indiana, contact our skilled Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Rigney Law LLC for help fighting your charges.

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