What should I do if I was arrested after an illegal search?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you’re arrested following an illegal search, try to remember all of the details of the event, and later, write down exactly what happened and provide those notes to an attorney. Your attorney can help you develop a basis for a civil lawsuit which could provide you with monetary damages. In addition, if you file a civil suit after being arrested following an illegal search, you will likely need to present the name of the police officer and law enforcement agency involved.

After the arrest, you should request to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. You may choose to state that you think the search and subsequent arrest were illegal. After you have made your requests and statements about the illegal search, you have the right not to say anything further to the police. If you speak to the officers who arrested you, you do not have to explain why you believe that the search and arrest are illegal. Keep in mind that when you communicate with police officers, you are providing them with information that can result in self-incriminating statements.

When you speak to your criminal defense attorney, explain your side of the alleged illegal search and the events that occurred before the arrest. Your attorney will use these details to research similar cases, and to conclude whether or not your situation will be considered an illegal search. If it was an illegal search, your attorney can then motion the court to dismiss the case or to suppress the evidence recovered from the search.

Regardless of your views on what constitutes an illegal search, you should not physically resist if you are arrested. Often times, people in the middle of being arrested don’t have a clear head or enough information to determine whether the arrest is lawful. If you’re arrested for lawful reasons, and not because of an illegal search, then any action you take in resisting arrest is a criminal offense.

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