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The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizures, it states:

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 particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

One of your most fundamental rights is the right to be left alone.  If you are facing a criminal charge because the government stopped you, questioned you, detained you, searched you, or arrested you, you have the right to force the government to prove their actions did not not violate your rights.  Violations of your rights can exist from the moment the Police turned their attention to you and stopped you.

The law recognizes three types of encounter the government can have with you:

  • Voluntary encounters with the police, which are no different than when someone stops you on the street for directions;
  • Stops supported by articulable suspicion, when the officers believes for a specific reason you may be committing a crime; and
  • Stops supported by probable cause, where a reasonable person would believe you are committing a crime.

Each of these interactions is governed by a different set of rules.  These rules are in place to protect your rights.  The right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure is a powerful right.  For example, a judge may rule the police did not have the authority to even stop you and ask your name.  In these cases, the judge may find all the evidence allegedly collected against should not be used against you.

When the police stop you they must have a legal reason to detain you and pursue their investigation and arrest.  If the police do not follow these constitutionally mandated rules, any and all of these violations can be raised in a pretrial motion in court.  If the judge agrees with your motion to suppress and finds your constitutional rights were violated, this can prevent the State from using damaging evidence against you.  This can stop the State’s prosecution of you long before a jury trial.

Being charged and prosecuted for a crime is a terrible experience.  The violations you experience during a poorly handled police investigation can be serious and the Constitution offers you protection.  If you are convicted of a crime it is something that can affect you for years to come, long after the days in jail or prison are over and the time spent on probation and parole has ended.  At the Law Office of Andrew R. Lynch we strive to avoid conviction and make sure that your rights are protected.  We prepare every case as if it is going to trial so that we can get the best outcome for you.

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