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When can Minnesota police conduct a lawful search?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Criminal defense |

If a Minnesota police officer arrests someone and seizes property to use in court, a motion to dismiss any criminal charges may be filed if it can be proved that the search was unlawful. An accused individual, of course, would first have to know what constitutes a lawful search to determine whether grounds exist for challenging the admissibility of the property in requestion or for a dismissal of the charges. Several factors come into play when making this determination.  

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people against unlawful searches and seizures. This protection includes searches of property or persons. There are several exceptions that enable a police officer to conduct a search without first securing a warrant. It is important to know what these exceptions are and whether they are relevant in a specific case.  

Was the search “reasonable?” 

A police officer must have a justifiable reason for conducting a search, whether it takes place during a traffic stop, at someone’s home or elsewhere. If law enforcement authorities have obtained a warrant, that typically constitutes a justifiable reason for the search. If the situation merits an exception to the need for a warrant, that may also be a justifiable reason for conducting a search.  

A warrant usually specifies the time and exact location and/or items permitted to be searched. And some warrants have expiration dates on them. If a Minnesota police officer has a warrant to search a vehicle in a driveway, it does not necessarily mean he or she can search other vehicles that happen to be there at the time. If someone is facing criminal charges in a case where a violation of his or her legal rights has occurred, it makes sense to reach out for immediate legal support.