Illegal Search and Seizure in Indiana

In many criminal cases, the evidence collected from a search and seizure is the strongest against you. When the police search your vehicle, property or person, they must operate according to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. These guidelines prohibit unlawful searches and seizures by government entities. The government’s limitations are often important in criminal cases since prosecutors cannot use evidence that was gained by violating a defendant’s constitutional rights. 

If you underwent a search and seizure in Indiana, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock can help you review your rights: call us to schedule a consultation where you can discuss the specifics of your situation. 

When Are the Police Legally Allowed to Search Me?

Authorities are allowed to search you if they have reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law. These Terry stops may involve a pat down of your outer garments if the officer has a reason to believe you are armed and putting others at risk. 

If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime, you may be arrested. In an arrest, the police can search for weapons and other evidence on your person or in the area you have immediate control over. For instance, if you are arrested at home, the police can search the room you were in at the time of the incident, but they cannot search the entire house. 

You have the right to end a police encounter if you are not being arrested. Unless the officer arrests you, he or she cannot detain you for longer than several minutes. Remain claim, but speak assertively to exercise your rights. 

When Can the Police Search My Vehicle?

Similar to a Terry stop, law enforcement can only pull over a driver if there’s reasonable suspicion that they broke the law. An officer can legally stop you if they witness you disobeying a stop light, speeding or driving recklessly (which may indicate intoxication). 

An officer can only detain you on the roadside for a short duration. You are not obligated to answer any questions he or she asks you, and you can exercise your right to remain silent. Officers need probable cause to search your car or arrest you, and if none exists, they are required to let you leave. 

Can Police Search My Property Without a Warrant?

There are three situations that permit law enforcement entry to your home: 

  • You provide consent
  • They have a warrant
  • There is an emergency 

Extensive home searches are only allowed when the court has provided law enforcement with a search warrant against you. This differs from an arrest warrant, which lets police enter and arrest you, but without searching your property. An arrest warrant only lets police search the immediate surroundings to see if you attempted to hide or destroy evidence. 

If you give the police consent to enter, or if there is an emergency situation, they can only seize items that are plainly visible. They cannot search the home for evidence against you. 

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were subject to a search and seizure in Indiana, you need to know your rights. Talk to our criminal defense lawyers at Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock to determine the next steps.