Question: Can you explain the legal procedure for search and seizure in Oklahoma? How can an improper search and seizure be used as part of a defense strategy?
Answer: Legal searches and seizures can occur in several manners. One is just simply through consent; Where an individual allows an officer to search his or her person, car or home. Another manner is something referred to as the Plain View Doctrine, which occurs when an officer is someplace where they have a legal right to be and they happen to see something illegal, such as drugs or drug paraphernalia, weapons or stolen property. That will often give an officer a legal right to search further into that person’s home or car. Another manner in which searches and seizures can occur is through the warrant process where an officer takes an affidavit to a judge and in that affidavit the officer sets forth reasons why they are asking the court to allow them to invade a person’s house or car or cell phone to search for evidence of a crime. Improper searches and seizures are a wonderful tool for defense attorneys. And this is really the first place that any defense attorney should look when they’re defending a case that involves a search. If the court determines that an improper or illegal search and seizure has occurred, the court would then suppress any evidence which was obtained as a result of this illegal search. This usually means that the charges against the defendant would be dismissed.
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