One of the most frequent questions our Manhattan, White Plains, and Stamford criminal defense attorneys are asked is – under what circumstances may police search you?
Although the law of search and seizure is complicated, there are a number of truisms.Police Searches of the Home
Our Manhattan, Stamford and White Plains criminal defense lawyers will tell you that the police may never enter your home without a warrant unless you consent, or they believe exigent circumstances exist.
Exigent circumstances exist if police believe there is reason to suspect imminent danger to someone.Police Searches of A Car
Police may stop your car if they see you commit a traffic infraction or suspect you to have committed a crime.
However, our Manhattan and Westchester County criminal defense lawyers will explain to you that the police may not search you after stopping your car, unless you consent to their doing so, or they have probable cause to arrest.
Our White Plains criminal defense lawyers will also counsel you that probable cause to arrest drivers most often arises if the driver is suspected of DWI.
However, probable cause can also arise if police suspect some other crime.
If, for instance, police stop your car, and then see a gun or drugs in plain sight in the interior compartment of the car, the police will then have probable cause to search your entire car. This right to search extends to the interior compartment, the glove compartment, the trunk and your person.Police Searches of a Person
The law regarding police searches of a pedestrian has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years.
New York City’s long-standing “Stop and Frisk” policy first came under fire in 2013 when Mayor De Blasio and others suggested it was subject to racial profiling and it came under further fire with the “I Can’t Breathe” Campaign.
Moreover, our criminal defense lawyers in Stamford, White Plains and Manhattan will tell you that the law is clear regarding police searches of your person where weapons are not involved.
Police may never continue their search of your person, after the initial pat-down search, if the pat-down reveals contraband other than weapons.
So, for example, if police pat-down your person and feel what they think are drugs in a soft baggie (rather than a knife or gun), they must discontinue their search immediately.
Accordingly, if you believe that you or someone you know has been wrongfully searched by the police, contact our criminal defense lawyers in White Plains, Manhattan and Stamford now. The call is free, and our operators are standing by 24/7.