On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in criminal law on Thursday, August 30, 2018.

Many criminal prosecutions for a variety of offenses are successful because the police searched their suspect’s home, car or other property and found some damning evidence by doing so.

Oftentimes, this evidence is just the sort of smoking gun a judge or jury needs to convict someone, assuming that a trial is still even worth it once it is clear the evidence will be admitted in to court.

Riverside, California, residents may have a general notion that they have certain constitutional rights in these sorts of circumstances, the most important of them being the right to not have the police search their property at random or without either a warrant or a valid legal reason to do so.

What they might not understand is that, legally, they are free to waive this important right and agree to let officers conduct a search of their property. Many people do so for a variety of reasons. It can, after all, be quite intimidating to have an encounter with an armed and usually very assertive police officer. Police also have certain perfectly legal techniques they can use to get a person to consent to a search.

Even if someone thinks that they have nothing to hide, consenting to a search is always a risky prospect. Once officers have met the legal requirements for getting consent, whatever they find is likely to be admissible evidence. This is so even if it later becomes apparent that, but for the consent, law enforcement would have had no legal means to obtain the evidence that is now the centerpiece of their case.

The validity of a consent to search can be challenged in court, but it will often take the assistance of an experienced criminal law attorney to do so.