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New York Drug Seizure

Our New York Drug Seizure Lawyer staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC states that the Fourth Amendment to our constitution provides protection to all United States citizens against unlawful searches and seizures by the government. When it comes to drug-related cases, it's often a question as to the legality of how the evidence was obtained that comes into question. If it's proved that the police violated the rights of the accused, the evidence cannot be used in court. If the evidence can't be used, the state may have no choice but to drop the case. If you've been arrested and charged with a drug crime, it's vital that you remain silent until you've had a chance to consult with one of our experienced Criminal attorneys. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC, our New York Drug Seizure Lawyer team will review your case and determine if the evidence against you was gotten from an illegal seizure or illegal search.

According to the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and no particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

A word about warrants and privacy.

The Fourth Amendment stipulates that people must have a reasonable expectation to privacy in their homes, personal communications, etc. However, the word 'reasonable' is gray area because it's difficult to know, based on the wording, what is considered reasonable. It's often thought that reasonable expectation is specific to the context. For example, the court will look at a situation in which someone is attempting to keep something private and then may look at whether the society at large would expect that same privacy. This is tricky because society is changing very quickly, as are the expectations for privacy. Because of this, the Fourth Amendment and its meanings are also constantly evolving.

According to our New York Drug Crime Lawyer group, the government can intrude on privacy so long as a search or seizure is reasonable. In order to do this, the state must obtain a warrant which gives them the authority to conduct a search and/or seizure, but this warrant must have probable cause behind it. A court shouldn't grant a warrant on a hunch, but should require more evidence before allowing a search to take place. In addition, a warrant is also to be specific in what is to be searched or seized.

Even still, there are exceptions to these warrant requirements. The Supreme Court says that a warrantless search and seizure may be deemed reasonable if the circumstances dictate that getting a warrant is impossible and that there is sufficient probable cause. These exceptions include:

  • Search incident to arrest: This means that an individual can be searched after a lawful arrest to determine if there are any weapons and to prevent the destruction of evidence.
  • Consent: If an individual willingly waives their Fourth Amendment right.
  • Plain view: An officer may seize objects that are in plain view provided that officer has the legal right to be in a position to see the object.
  • Automobile exception: An officer may search a vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause that there are weapons, contraband or other illegal substances.
  • Exigent circumstances: This means that a warrant cannot be obtained due to emergency circumstances, such as a person's life being at risk.

Because the issue of what constitutes an illegal search and seizure can be such a gray area, it's vital to have the help of our experienced New York Drug Seizure Lawyer staff should you ever find yourself arrested and charged with a drug offense.

Contact our New York Drug Seizure Lawyer staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC at 800.696.9529 or contact one of our New York City offices serving Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx or Brooklyn, or in Westchester County or one of our Long Island offices in Nassau County or Suffolk County.