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What are the Search & Seizure Laws in Missouri?

search and seizure

search and seizureIt is understandable that most people would react with a mixture of confusion and apprehension when confronted by a police officer. Without a KC Missouri Defense Attorney, not knowing all the details of the situation can make it difficult to determine the best way to respond to requests to search your person, your vehicle or your domicile. By and large, most people want to cooperate. But that desire to do the right thing can work against you, especially in a situation where you are being asked to authorize an unreasonable search.

Your Fourth Amendment Rights 

Under the United States Constitution, you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures of your property absent a set of very specific conditions. First, a police officer or other law enforcement officer must have probable cause to believe they will find evidence of a crime. Further, they must be able to articulate the crime and what they are looking for. Third, they must swear to these facts under oath and obtain the permission of a judge in the form of a warrant. If you are presented with a warrant you should contact a Criminal defense attorney Kansas City Missouri.

With few exceptions, police officers must follow this procedure in every search. Otherwise they run the risk of having anything they find later thrown out by a judge on the grounds the evidence was obtained in violation of your rights.

Federal vs. State

In the state of Missouri, and in every other state of the union, your Fourth Amendment rights are identical. A Criminal Defense Attorney in KC Missouri will agree you can categorically refuse any search unless the police have a warrant. This includes your person, anything you are carrying, and anything in your vehicle and everything in your home.

The reason this is true is because the United States Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. It supersedes any state law and is also superior to any federal law. Any legislation that contravenes the Bill of Rights or the other provisions of the Constitution cannot be enforced.

In any situation where you are not sure about your rights, you should refuse to consent to any search and notify law enforcement you want to talk to a specialist like Attorney John Picerno. This should be done before you answer any questions or sign any documents. Your rights are yours and are there to protect you. Use them.