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Why is search and seizure significant in drug crimes?

Any kind of criminal charge can be challenging for an individual to face. These difficult times could be even worse if the charges are associated with drug crimes, because Washington is one state that prosecutes drug crimes aggressively. The laws addressing drug possession, drug trafficking and even prescription drug charges can be tougher than many other states because state officials want to protect the public from the dangers of illicit drugs and controlled substances. Limiting illegal drug activities can also reduce other types of crimes.

While it is understandable that the authorities will do everything they can to protect people from drug crimes, they should also be mindful of certain laws that safeguard citizens and defendants including search and seizure laws. According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, every American has the right to be free from unreasonable intrusion of the government into their business, homes and property. When it comes to criminal law, an individual has a legitimate right to privacy and the Fourth Amendment protects individuals from certain police searches. The search and seizure law is very significant when a person is accused of drug crimes.

Because of search and seizure laws, police cannot search your personal items such as luggage, purse and clothing even if they suspect you of drug possession. The protection extends to places such as an apartment, hotel room and vehicle. Any kind of police search is prohibited unless they present you with a warrant.

The Fourth Amendment also provides protection to individuals when it comes to confiscated items, including illegal drugs. With the search and seizure laws, the police cannot use any seized items as evidence in a criminal case, if they do not present any warrant during the search. Otherwise, it can be considered a violation of the search and seizure laws.

Source: Law.Cornell.Edu, "Search and Seizure," Accessed on Feb. 12, 2015

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