Fort Lauderdale Police Using Private Citizens as Government Agents Attorneys
Generally speaking, when a private citizen and not a law enforcement officer uncovers evidence through an illegal search, it is still considered admissible in court. However, if the private citizen was acting on behalf of a government agent, the court will treat it just as though law enforcement had collected it.
Private citizens that search and obtain evidence when acting as a government agent are subject to the exclusionary rule. This rule states that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search cannot be used against the accused. If you feel as though your rights have been violated, our Fort Lauderdale police using private citizens as government agents attorney can help you make things right.
Police Using Private Citizens as Government Agents vs. Private Citizens Acting Alone
The courts have ruled on many different cases over the years that have defined what constitutes an illegal search by police and other government agencies. On the other hand, there is no real case law or legislation that defines what is considered an illegal search by a private citizen. This is due to the fact that issues such as lack of probable cause do not apply to private citizens acting alone. As a result, any evidence obtained by a private citizen on their own is considered admissible in court, even if the citizen trespassed or committed any other crime to obtain the evidence.
When Police Use Private Citizens as Government Agents
The exclusionary rules apply specifically to the conduct of the government. However, when evidence is illegally obtained by a private citizen that was acting on behalf of the government, it still applies. As a result, if the private citizen does not legally conduct the search, such as making sure they had probable cause, evidence obtained can be deemed inadmissible.
For example, police may visit the scene of a possible crime and direct a private citizen to search through someone’s bag. If the police did not have probable cause to search the bag, any evidence the private citizen obtained as a result of the search will be considered inadmissible because the person was acting as a government agent. On the other hand, if the private citizen had searched the bag without any direction from law enforcement, the same evidence would be considered admissible.
Although private citizens acting as government agents are subject to the same restrictions as police, there are some professionals that appear to be law enforcement but they are not. The courts generally do not consider security guards, private investigators, or bounty hunters as police officers and so, any evidence obtained by these individuals will be admissible in court, unless they were directed by a government official to conduct the search.
Our Fort Lauderdale Police Using Private Citizens as Government Agents Attorney Will Restore Your Rights
If evidence has been obtained against you through illegal means, our Fort Lauderdale police using private citizens as government agents attorney can help. At Meldon Law, our seasoned attorneys will get the evidence suppressed so it cannot be used against you, and we will give you the best chance of beating your charges. Call us today at 800-373-8000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.