It can be extremely scary, invasive and frustrating to have your home, car or other personal property searched by authorities. You can also feel very helpless standing by and watching them go through everything. In this situation, it can be crucial to remember that you have rights that must be protected before, during and after a search, and one of these rights is to contact an attorney.
Legal representation can be an important tool to have if authorities have searched or intend to search you or your property. An attorney may be able to challenge the execution of a search warrant (or warrant-less search) and pursue the dismissal of any evidence collected during these searches, which could dramatically affect the charges you may be facing.
Police need a warrant to search private property in Minnesota, and there must be probable cause to obtain that warrant. Some states allow evidence collected in a search that is later determined to be unsupported by probable cause to be admissible in court, which is called the Good Faith exception. But in our last blog post, which can be read by clicking here, we discussed the fact that the Good Faith exception is not recognized in this state.
However, many people do not know this and don't understand how this would affect their case.
People also may not understand that, in general, they can refuse a search without a warrant. Police can ask to search something, like your car or phone and if you give them permission, they can go ahead do this without getting a warrant first. While police may take something, again like your phone, they cannot go through it without your permission or a warrant.
The laws regarding legal searches seem fairly straightforward in theory, but in practice they can become very complicated. Law enforcement authorities know this and they know how they can exploit the fact that many people do not have the same understanding of the laws that they have. However, consulting an attorney can be a good way to stand up for yourself and protect your rights.