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Search and Seizure Archives | Law Office of Terrence Marsh

Category Archive for "Search and Seizure"

No Knock Warrants in Texas

No Knock Warrants in Texas

Q: Knock, knock? A: Police Q: Poilce, who? A: We’ve got a search warrant for your home. (Kick in door) Maybe this is what people have come to expect from police when they execute a search warrant in Texas. Most people see this type of interaction on TV or in the movies. It almost always ends with the door kicked in, police entering with guns drawn, people dragged out of the home in cuffs, and thrown into the back of a police car. While No Knock Warrants in Texas might not be an issue you confront every day, the public…

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Community Caretaking

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Community Caretaking

This post is about another of the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. In previous posts I explained some other exceptions. The Community Caretaking exception is similar to the Fourth Amendment Exception of Exigency. However, the difference between the two is very important. Exigency usually deals with the pressing needs of law enforcement, investigating crimes, and collecting evidence. It is more geared toward these activities in mind. Community caretaking has much more to do with a police officer’s traditional role in the community. A warrant isn’t required because the aim of community caretaking is to ensure safety, and not targeted…

Smartphone mit Kette und Schloss

Can Police Search Your Cell Phone in Texas?

This problem comes up more in older cases than new ones. Cell phones have become more and more important in our lives as time has gone on. Remember – ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS KEEP A PASSWORD ON YOUR PHONE. We’ve come a long way since flip phones and phones without text messaging. The reason why, is that in June of 2014 the United States Supreme Court ruled that cell phones deserve the same constitutional privacy protections as other areas in our lives. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by police. If you read the post on Search Warrant…

Can Police Search Through Your Trash

Can Police Search Through Your Trash?

For the most part, yes, police can search through your trash. If you’ve read some of the previous posts about Search Warrants or the Exceptions to the Need for Search Warrants, then you’d know why. If you haven’t read those, go back and read one of them. Searches without a warrant by police are presumed to be illegal. This is a Constitutional protection we have. So, what if that search happens to be trash? Trash, Dumpsters, Curbside Garbage, and the Police First, let’s use an example to show what a person’s rights are when it comes to their garbage. Let’s…

When Can Police Frisk You in Texas

When Can Police Frisk You in Texas?

I realize this situation doesn’t come up very often but I think it’s worth talking about. At some point or another, most of us have seen or heard about police “frisks” or pat downs. Whether it’s on Law and Order or some other show, people know them when they see them. I want to explain them so you know why they’re used, what they are, and what they’re not. Frisks can happen in the street while you’re walking or you may be pulled out of a car. Either way, a frisk is a frisk in Texas. What is a Frisk?…

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Administrative Searches

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Administrative Searches

This is the fourth part in my series on Fourth Amendment Exceptions. The Fourth Amendment is our U.S. Constitutional protection against police searches and seizures. Normally a search or seizure has to be done with a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The exceptions to the Fourth Amendment are situations where the warrant requirement is legally excused. The first three exceptions I listed were: Exigency or Exigent Circumstances (An immediate need to search) Search Incident to Arrest (A search of you and the area after you’ve been arrested) Consent (Where you give the officer permission to search or take something). Now…

When Is an “Arrest” Not an Arrest?

Most people think that they’re arrested only when the silver bracelets are put around their wrists. In Texas, that’s not so. One of the things I look closely at, when I receive your criminal discovery, is when the police legally “arrested” you. You have Constitutional protections when it comes to arrests and searches. Depending on the series of events, what can start off as harmless questions from police can turn into your full blown arrest. The timing of the arrest can affect the outcome of your case. This is especially true during plea bargaining or trying to get your case…

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Consent

Fourth Amendment Exceptions – Consent

This is the third part in my series of posts on Fourth Amendment Exceptions. The Fourth Amendment requires police officers to get search warrants from a Judge when they want to search you, your home, your car, your office, etc…  If you remember from previous posts,  Fourth Amendment Exceptions are situations where police don’t need to get warrants. The previous two posts were the exceptions of 1) Exigency, and 2) Search incident to arrest. What is consent? Can I search your car/house/pockets? Consent is the legal term for “permission.” When you give someone consent, it means you give them permission…

Probable Cause and Traffic Stops

Probable Cause and Traffic Stops

What does it take for a police officer to search you or your car? Probable Cause. What is probable cause? In Texas, probable cause has a very slippery definition. It’s hard to explain and even harder to outline its boundaries. Basically, probable cause is the amount of details, evidence, or information that a police officer needs to arrest you or search you. Probable cause is so important that it’s ingrained in our Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of that amendment is to protect your privacy. You have a privacy interest that the government recognizes. Don’t give it…