Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Things You Must Know if Police Want to Search Your Residence

A Blackstone Police Department officer recently arrested a man on charges of trying to sell cocaine and fentanyl to an undercover police officer. The man now faces charges related to trafficking fentanyl, which is a Class A narcotic, as well as distributing cocaine, which is a Class B narcotic.  

A press release from the Blackstone Police Department stated that the man was arrested after he agreed to sell 500 fentanyl pills to another man, who turned out to be an undercover law enforcement officer. The arrest comes shortly after the Drug Enforcement Administration released a public safety alert warning others about the increased availability of fake prescription pills that contained fentanyl and methamphetamine. 

Following this arrest, Woonsocket law enforcement later executed a search warrant at a residence and discovered over 80 grams of cocaine and around $9,500 in cash. Law enforcement seized over 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills in the bust as well as 30 grams of what is believed to be cocaine and a vehicle.  

Your Fourth Amendment Rights Still Apply

Your Fourth Amendment rights protect against unreasonable searches and seizures. In cases in which the police have probable cause to obtain a search warrant of your home, they still must describe the place they are searching. Law enforcement is limited in regards to where they can look. If law enforcement goes beyond the scope of the search warrant, they might violate your Fourth Amendment rights. This means there are still limits to where law enforcement can search when they have a warrant for your residence. 

Where Law Enforcement Can Search

Both federal and state laws state that law enforcement must have a warrant that specifically addresses what they will search as well as what they can seize. The description found in a search warrant must be specific enough so the police, as well as the subject, can read the warrant and understand where the police are allowed to search and what is being seized. The search must be limited to these areas. For example, the police cannot open a small jewelry box if law enforcement is only seizing a large firearm because the firearm is clearly too big to fit in the jewelry box. 

You Have Options if the Search is Illegal

Whether it is looking somewhere they should not or using an improperly written warrant, if the search turns out to be illegal, your attorney can file a motion to have any evidence obtained during the seizure removed from court and the prosecution’s case. Your attorney can also file a motion to make sure the property is returned to you. 

Speak With a Drug Crime Defense Lawyer Today

A conviction of a drug crime in Massachusetts carries with it some serious penalties. One of the best things that you or a loved one can do if you need the assistance of a compassionate drug defense attorney is to contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.