Often individuals travel with a bag, purse, or backpack, even when just leaving the home for a few hours. The 4th amendment protects against the unreasonable search of an individual's property, including bags and purses, however, in some situations law enforcement can search bag, backpacks, purses, and other belongings without a warrant.
There is no separate exception that allows officers to search a bag or belongings, however, coupled with the other exceptions to the fourth amendment listed on this site, officers have many options as to how to search without a warrant.
Upon probable cause, an officer may search an individual or his/her belongings located within close proximity, without a warrant. As stated in the other sections, on Search Incident to Arrest, officers may search bags. If probable cause is present during an auto search, law enforcement may search the entire car, including locked compartments such as the glove box, center console, or trunk. Any personal locked contained therein can also be searched, including briefcases and bags. If a purse is left open, and a marijuana pipe is visible in it, then the officer may search using Plain View Exceptions to the 4th amendment warrant requirement.
Drug cases, or Possession of Controlled Substance (POCS) are one of the most numerous types of offenses in Travis County that involve searches. Many times, drugs are not found in a person's pockets -- they are found in a backpack, or under a car seat, or in a room shared by many people.
If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.
The determination of whether a search and seizure is legal is made by the Judge. Unfortunately, the Judge that an arrested person sees in jail (the magistrate) is not the Judge who will determine that issue. It can take months to get and review discovery, and to set a formal Suppression Hearing with the Court. The problem then, is getting out of jail quickly, to allow for time to review and set that hearing.
Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.
Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Illegal Search cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.
Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.