The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, was one of the original 10 Amendments to the Constitution historically known as the Bill of Rights. It states as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In many cases we see, all or part of the evidence against you may have been obtained by the Police in violation of your 4th Amendment Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to use evidence seized from you against you, the Police must have had a warrant or have been justified in conducting a warrantless search by one of the specific warrant exceptions to the 4th Amendment. In our experience, Police often cross the line and conduct searches which are not authorized by a warrant or one of these exceptions. In every case, these issues must be fully investigated, researched and litigated before trial. There is no other way to know what the full scope and weight of the evidence against you will be and often the 4th Amendment issues are the only real defense you have. If we can show that your 4th Amendment rights were violated, we may be able to use the Exclusionary Rule, to keep that evidence from being used against you.
Under the Maryland and Federal Rules of Procedure, 4th Amendment issues must be raised in writing by Motion and Memorandum of Law. At Houlon Berman, we have been arguing these Motions before the trial courts and appeal courts for years. Here are some samples of some of the arguments we have made in the past: DC Appeal, Maryland Appeal.
At Houlon Berman, we have over 50 years of experience representing clients in criminal matters in Maryland and the District of Columbia. We take pride in the results we get for our clients. We have handled countless Motions in the trial court on 4th Amendment issues and Appeals to the Appellate Courts. We are well known as lawyers with extensive experience and knowledge of 4th Amendment laws. For an example of one of our Appeal arguments in a 4th Amendment case in Maryland click here, in the Federal Court of Appeals click here and in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals click here.
The prosecution bears the burden of proving that a search and seizure was lawful. At Houlon Berman, we will fight the prosecution and take pride in the results we achieve for our clients!