Possession of illegal or controlled substances in Massachusetts can have severe repercussions. If law enforcement stopped you and a vehicle search resulted in drug charges, the impetus for the search could have significant ramifications for your defense. At Anthony M. Salerno, P.C. we have experienced attorneys who can help protect your rights.
According to FindLaw, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure. However, “unreasonable” is a relative term, blurring the line between lawful and unlawful vehicle searches. A legal search can occur under the following circumstances:
- Law enforcement has reason to suspect incriminating evidence in your car
- You have been arrested
- Officers believe searching the vehicle is necessary for their protection
- You consent to the search
Laws regarding search and seizure are typically less strict for cars than for homes. An officer can ask to search your car or truck without a warrant, and you have the right to say no. If the search does not meet the above criteria, it may be an illegal search, subject to a challenge in court. Unless there is a reason to believe you or your passengers are dangerous, an officer cannot conduct a search for a minor infraction, such as driving over the speed limit.
While law enforcement cannot search without reasonable cause, officers may seize evidence that is in plain sight, such as known drug paraphernalia on a back seat or a handgun in the glove box when opened for proof of insurance. If you face drug charges as a result of illegal search and seizure, you may have grounds for dismissal. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.