Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys are often asked about whether their search in a particular case is legal or not. This is just another example of the courts eroding the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. If a warrant isn’t available or isn’t received, the court has granted certain exceptions to law enforcement to justify their search. One of those exceptions is the Plain View exception. Plain View is essentially based on the idea that law enforcement shouldn’t have to close their eyes or turn their heads to things that they immediately recognize as being illegal.
In order for the court to uphold a Plain View Search as legal, three things are generally required: law enforcement has to be lawfully present, where they immediately identified the illegal items; law enforcement had to have legal access to the area, and the incriminating nature of the item had to be “immediately apparent.” Generally, the most litigated factor of the three requirements is the “immediately apparent” factor. This is because the overwhelming majority of folks are cognizant and aware enough not to leave illegal items simply laying around where people can walk up and see them, whether it be at their house or car. While every situation is certainly different, in the overwhelming majority of cases, this is the area where Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys have their best ability to challenge these cases. It’s also critical to highlight that law enforcement is not permitted to move items or manipulate items, in order to then claim that items were in plain view. For example, an officer cannot pick up a jacket in a car to see what is under it.
If you have questions concerning a search of you, you vehicle, or your house, contact the Tampa
Criminal Defense Attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We’ve handled thousands of cases throughout the Tampa Bay area, and will sit down and work with you to determine whether the search was lawful, and work on filing any proper motions to suppress the evidence which was illegally obtained. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper righthand corner of our website. We also have folks standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your telephone calls. We appreciate your time in checking out our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog, and look forward to working with you in the future.