Criminal cases that involve drug charges are serious—there are no “minor” drug cases. Yes, possession charges may come with the potential for a less-severe sentence than, say, distribution or manufacturing of illegal drugs, but any type of conviction for drug charges will stay on your record for a long time, possibly limiting your opportunities in many respects for years to come. However, drug cases often come with constitutional defenses, like challenging a search warrant, if one was involved in the case.
Illinois residents who are facing a drug crime case would likely benefit from knowing some of the basics about search warrants since the details of their case and their potential defense strategy may come down to how a search warrant was drafted, approved and executed. The constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Typically, in order to get a search warrant, law enforcement officials must write a very detailed description of what or where, exactly, will be searched, as well as what the law enforcement officials expect to find, and why. “Probable cause” is a term that is readily used when it comes to search warrants—support for the belief that illegal items or activity will be found during the search.
Residences or other structures are usually the object of a search warrant—many other searches take place without a warrant, such as when a person is searched incident to an arrest, for example, or when a person consents to a search.
A defense strategy will usually involve a careful examination and review of a search warrant, if one was used in the case at hand. Sometimes, a defect in the warrant or its execution can change the potential outcome in the case.