If you were recently charged with a crime, your Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyer can help you understand if the law enforcement officers involved in your arrest followed the guidelines imposed by federal and Florida law under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects Americans against unlawful search and seizure and imposes a warrant requirement against any law enforcement entity involved in your arrest or the seizure of your property.

A warrant is a document that must be signed by a judge prior to a search or seizure. This Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyerdocument must satisfy the judge that sufficient evidence has been collected to point to you as a likely suspect. Deficiencies on the face of a warrant or officers who act beyond the scope of the warrant are the most common reasons for a misdemeanor charge to be dismissed; your Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyer will advocate on your behalf and determine whether any of these mistakes are present in your case.

Items to Be Seized

One of the most important aspects of a search and/or seizure warrant is the requirement that it specifically list the places and items to be searched. The warrant cannot state “entire house,” but must identify specific rooms or areas of the house where law enforcement is permitted to enter. Subject to exceptions, law enforcement officers are not permitted to seize property from areas not listed on the warrant. In the event that contraband is uncovered in an area not listed on the warrant, your Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyer will promptly argue for its exclusion from the prosecution’s case against you.

Probable Cause Affidavit

When a law enforcement officer requests a warrant from a judge or magistrate, he must submit a document known as a probable cause affidavit. This is a sworn statement, in writing, attesting to the evidence that gives rise to probable cause for an arrest. This document is rarely, if ever, served with the warrant and the prosecution will usually obtain an order sealing it until an indictment follows.

Your Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyer will work to have this document unsealed for the purposes of determining whether there was probable cause to arrest you in the first place. Standards for unsealing the probable cause affidavit are not settled. Some courts hold that the Constitution invokes a presumption in favor of unsealing the document and that the prosecution holds the burden of proof to show a compelling need to keep the document sealed. Other courts have held that there is no right to access the sealed document prior to the issuance of an indictment.

If you have questions about your arrest and feel there may be a search and seizure issue with your charge, a Jacksonville misdemeanor lawyer can help you understand your rights. Call the Attorneys at Canan Law at (904) 824-9402 today to schedule a consultation.

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