Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with few exceptions, any police officer who conducts a search of a person’s home or vehicle must first obtain a search warrant (or the owner of the property must have validly consented to the search). To issue a search warrant, probable cause must exist that criminal activity was afoot and that the defendant committed or participated in the criminal activity.
If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, you must have experienced legal representation on your side throughout your entire case. The criminal defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group may safeguard all of your legal rights while your criminal case is pending, can review the facts and circumstances of your criminal case with you, and if necessary can represent you at trial.
Doors vs. Windows
Under most circumstances, a police officer may also go to your door, knock, and try to gain permission to enter your residence.
However, if an occupant of the home does not answer the door in a reasonably short period of time, under the law, the officer must leave. Police officers are required to act as a “normal visitor” to the property would act under the circumstances. “Normal visitors” to a person’s home do not ordinarily walk around to a window, look inside, and knock on the window to try and gain access to the premises.
In short, after knocking at the front door, police are permitted to search the premises further (that is, look into windows) only if probable cause takes them there. Any evidence that the police uncover by looking in or around an unauthorized area may not be used against the criminal defendant at trial.
“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” Doctrine
If a law enforcement officer performs an unconstitutional search and recovers incriminating evidence, that evidence may be suppressed at the criminal trial, under some circumstances. The incriminating evidence is called the “fruit of the poisonous tree” if it was uncovered during an unconstitutional search or seizure. For example, if drugs or drug paraphernalia are found, they could be suppressed at trial.
Contact a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Attorney Today for a Free Consultation or Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, you need to know and understand your legal rights. Our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys may assist you with your case. A criminal defense lawyer can help formulate good legal defenses that may allow you to obtain a dismissal of your case or a favorable plea deal with the prosecution. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer, please call us today at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.