Both our State and U.S. constitutions allow for people to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures. This protection is found in the Fourth Amendment, which reads in part: “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated …”.
Most law enforcement personnel do their best to uphold the protections of the Fourth Amendment. However, recently two Snohomish County Sheriff Deputies were fired after an internal investigation determined that they unlawfully searched a suspect’s car. To add insult to injury, the deputies tried to cover up their actions so as to not be caught violating our constitutional protections. Clearly the ‘cover up’ miserably failed and the pair was accused of outright dishonesty and violating other department policies.
The allegations arose out of an incident involving an alleged ‘inventory search’ of a vehicle where the owner of the car was arrested for drugs. Generally, inventory searches are acceptable when a car is being towed after an arrest. This is so because officer’s need to avoid claims that they took – or otherwise stole – things from the vehicle. In this particular case, however, the inventory search was simply a ruse. In reality, the deputies were using the search to conduct an actual criminal investigation – a big no, no in the eyes of the law. When the deputies found illegal items during their search, they followed up by applying for a search warrant. They neglected, however, to do so by telling the judge signing the document that they had already looked in the trunk and found a shotgun. This made the issued warrant unlawful. Consequently, the deputies were unceremoniously relieved of their duties, which, of course, was the right result considering the significance of their violations.
If you or a loved one is cited, charged or arrested for a crime, it is a very smart idea to immediately hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.