Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Florida Legal Article: Lawyers Crestview


Search warrants give the police authority to carry out searches of certain places, such as your car or home.  The police must first show that they have “probable cause” in order to convince a judge to issue them a search warrant.  If you find yourself in the situation where the police exercise a search warrant against you, you should immediately contact one of the many fine lawyers in Crestview in order to ensure the protection of your legal rights.

Consent searches occur whenever a person in control of certain property grants the police voluntary permission to search the premises.  Police officers are not required to inform individuals that they may refuse to consent to such a search.  Even in cases where a police officer obtains a consent through coercion or trickery, the evidence gathered during the search will still be admissible in court, much to the chagrin of defense lawyers in Crestview.

This can be a controversial area of law in Crestview and elsewhere due to disputes over who actually has the right to consent to a search.  Courts will typically rule that, in situations where two or more tenants share one dwelling, one tenant cannot consent to the search of areas exclusively controlled by the other tenant, such as the other tenant’s bedroom.  Landlords cannot consent to searches of leased premises, and the same applies for hotel operators.  Alternatively, employers can grant consent for searches of company premises except for clearly private areas like an employee’s locker.  Of course, even then the consent can be considered valid should the police reasonably believe the consenting party had the authority to consent, even if later it turns out they did not.

Whenever contraband or evidence is seen “in plain view,” police officers are not required to obtain a warrant in order to search or seize that evidence or contraband so long as they had the right to be wherever they first saw it.  An example would be that if the police see marijuana growing outside from an airplane or helicopter, they may then search for and seize the marijuana since it is considered to have been in plain view.  Even in cases where the “plain view” doctrine is alleged, it’s a good idea to consult a Crestview lawyer to make sure the search was properly conducted.

Another circumstance under which police officers may make a search without a warrant is whenever arresting an individual.  These searches “incident to arrest” are allowed because police officers have the right to protect themselves by searching for any weapons the suspect might have, and to protect the case against the suspect by making sure he or she does not destroy any evidence on his or her person at the time of arrest.  Those who find themselves in such a situation should contact one or more lawyers in Crestview before answering any questions.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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