Illegal Search & Seizure


Our Michigan Drug Crimes Attorneys Work Aggressively to Keep Evidence Obtained Through Illegal Search and Seizure Out of Court

Search and seizure is a term that many do not realize is actually two legal concepts, which are not necessarily related to each other. As highly respected Michigan drug crime lawyers, our team at Grabel & Associates know that when evidence is obtained illegally, it can result in an individual spending time in prison or facing other penalties if the illegally obtained evidence is not thrown out of court. When it comes to illegal search and seizure you must have an attorney who understands how to successfully defend your rights against these actions.

The Constitution Protects You from Illegal Search and Seizures

Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, individuals have the right to be free from searches and seizures which are determined to be unreasonable. However, this Fourth Amendment privilege applies only to areas such as your home, vehicle, and person, or those areas where you would expect a reasonable expectation of privacy. Police do not have to obtain a warrant to search areas that would not be considered private, such as garbage containers. Additionally, police can search your person without a warrant if you have already been placed under arrest.

Let's define the two terms:

Search. A search is when an individual's person, vehicle, or body is searched by police or law enforcement in an effort to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity, such as may be the case if it is believed you are in possession of illegal drugs or substances or have distributed or sold illicit drugs. In the majority of cases, a search warrant must be obtained by police before performing the search; this warrant is based on probably cause, and typically granted by a neutral magistrate or judge. However, exceptions are made under certain conditions, meaning that you or your property may be searched without a warrant if conditions are met which include:

  • Consent. If you allow police to enter your home without a warrant it is considered consent. Many people are not aware that they may deny a search of their home, vehicle, or person; however, police do not legally have to advise individuals that they may refuse to consent to a search, and out of fear many people allow their homes, vehicles, or bodies to be searched. You do not have to consent!
  • SIA (Search Incident to Arrest), Automobile Exception, Administrative Search, Plain Smell/Plain View and Exigent Circumstances are other exceptions in which police may search your home, vehicle, or person without a warrant.

Never consent to a search, even when police officers try to intimidate you by telling you they will get a warrant. You may assume that police can obtain a warrant at any time, but they must have specific, probable cause to get a warrant. If police do threaten you with a warrant, ask politely what they are searching for specifically, and why they believe they have probable cause to do so. Because you refuse to consent to a search of your home, vehicle, or person is not on its own grounds for probable cause.

Regardless of whether evidence exists that you have committed a drug offense, consult with an aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney when police have attempted to perform a search, or threatened to obtain a warrant.

Seizure. Also referred to as a "Terry Stop," seizure is when an individual is detained briefly when police have reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual is doing something wrong or illegal. This applies in any situation involving crime, not just those related to drug offenses. While an officer must have reasonable suspicion, he/she must have probable cause to make an arrest, which is a more difficult condition to meet than reasonable suspicion.

Contact a Seasoned Michigan Drug Crimes Attorney Immediately

At Grabel & Associates, we bring more than 100 years of skill and experience to the table for our clients. Mistakes such as illegal searches and seizures are often an important aspect of building an effective and vigorous defense strategy.

Individuals suspected of drug crimes are often targets for law enforcement; when drugs or other evidence are obtained illegally, it may not be admissible in court, which could essentially lead to the prosecutor reducing or dismissing charges.

We provide effective, aggressive legal guidance and representation, giving all of our dedication and focus to ensure a positive outcome for each client we represent. We are available 24/7, so call our toll-free number today at 1-800-342-7896. Contact us online now.


With Attorney's statewide, Grabel & Associates defend people accused of criminal charges throughout the state of Michigan including the communities of Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Pinconning, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Bay City, Saginaw, Brant, Traverse City, Ludington, Allegan, Hillsdale, Lapeer, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.