The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals from illegal searches and seizures. This means that when police officers illegally conduct searches or illegally seize items, evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search or seizure cannot be used against the individual to convict them. Most illegal searches occur in the absence of a search warrant, but, not every warrantless search will justify a Fourth Amendment violation. There are exceptions to the warrant requirement. One of the biggest exceptions to the warrant requirement is a Terry stop. A Terry stop allows a police officer to conduct a ...
August 21, 2019CD
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you from illegal searches and seizures. This means that when police officers illegally conduct searches and illegally seize items, evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search and/or seizure cannot be used against the individual to convict them. The starting point in determining whether the search or seizure was illegal depends on the circumstances. To claim that there was an illegal seizure of the person, one must be in police custody and be subject to police interrogation. To claim there was an illegal search, one must establish that they had ...
August 8, 2019CD
The law is always evolving. Sometimes, the Indiana Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana issue opinions on cases that parties appeal, and the holdings in those cases create a new precedent for trial courts to follow. Other times, the Indiana General Assembly may draft legislation that their constituents ask for or that addresses an issue that has come about since the legislature last was in session. Fortunately, many counties in Indiana are implementing what is a growing trend by establishing what are generally called “problem-solving” courts. This blog post addresses what these courts do ...
May 16, 2019CD
Everyone has heard the term “illegal search and seizures.” But what does this mean? In general, the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution makes unlawful searches and seizures illegal, meaning that any evidence found during an unlawful search cannot be used against you in a court of law1. When it comes to “unlawful searches”, it is not always black and white. There are many exceptions in which a warrant would not be required for a search to be lawful. One example of this is what is known as a “pat-down” by Police Officers. A pat-down of your persons is technically ...
April 8, 2019CD
“Paraphernalia” is a strange word, but one that most of us have heard at some point in our lives. But what exactly does it mean? And what are the legal consequences involved if it is criminal contraband? The term paraphernalia is used in many contexts and has varying legal consequences depending on circumstances, such as, whether you are in possession of paraphernalia or whether you manufacture paraphernalia. In the (penal) drug world, possession of paraphernalia in defined as possession of “an instrument, a device, or another object that the person intends to use for” (1) introducing drugs into one’s body; ...
November 6, 2018CD
Under Indiana law, you can be convicted of possession of illegal drugs (or other contraband such as a gun) found during the search of a passenger vehicle, even if you are merely the passenger. This concept is called constructive possession and is used to charge and convict both drivers and/or passengers when there is no way for the State to prove direct ownership or control over the drugs or who knew the illegal items were in the car. This is not a new legal concept. To balance innocence, in cases of constructive possession, the State is required to prove the existence ...
October 24, 2018CD