Officer showing photos to witnessThis is the next post in my series on the handling of Peoria, Illinois criminal cases involving rape or sexual assault. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been arrested. By contacting counsel sooner, rather than later, you help to improve the chances that your matter will be handled properly. In this article I will discuss a topic that is very important in these types of cases – the impact of “search and seizure” issues. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Peoria rape charges may be the result of a Fourth Amendment violation

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits law enforcement from engaging in an unreasonable search or seizure. Typically, an individual’s home may not be searched unless law enforcement first acquires a warrant. The ability of the police or F.B.I. to search a car is also limited. If evidence is collected in violation of the warrant requirement then it is possible to have such evidence excluded from the Court’s proceedings. The exclusion or “suppression” of such evidence can, depending on the circumstances, greatly strengthen a defendant’s case.

The above-mentioned rule is best explained through an example. Suppose that the key piece of evidence in a case is a piece of clothing, with DNA on it, which law enforcement recovered from the defendant’s home. Now say that Peoria police entered the home without a warrant and simply began gathering items to potentially use in Court. This would most likely amount to a Fourth Amendment violation and the clothing would likely be ruled inadmissible. Whether or not the Fourth Amendment was violated is a complicated legal issue and few matters are as “clear cut” as the example I just gave. If one is charged with rape or assault then it is important to speak with counsel to determine whether or not there was a possible violation of rights.

Rape or sexual assault charges can result in the violation of a Peoria defendant’s Miranda rights

It is not uncommon for the police to gain a “confession” through a violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights. Miranda is the Court decision which gives a defendant the “right to remain silent.” Under the Fifth Amendment an accused is entitled to have counsel present at any time that they feel they are not free to leave the presence of the police. If statements are made to law enforcement, without a valid Miranda waiver, then it is possible to have the statements ruled inadmissible. As with Fourth Amendment violations, this is a complicated area of law and it is important to retain a qualified attorney.

Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer if you or a loved one were charged with rape or sexual assault. I am a former prosecutor who strongly believes that everyone is entitled to the strongest possible defense. We are ready to assist you. I also service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.

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