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Can I be charged for something found during a search that was completely unrelated to the search itself?

If the police are searching a home and find something that is completely unrelated to the search, but against the law, can the person get in trouble?

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    John J. Carney | The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
    401 East 34th Street
    New York, NY 10016
    (917) 696-2363
    If the police have consent or a search warrant they can seize any contraband they see.
    Answer Applies to: New York - Replied: 3/9/2013
    Cynthia Henley | Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    7626 E. Jordan Cove
    Houston, TX 77055-5053
    (713) 222-1220
    Yes. If it is clearly criminal, the police can take the item and you can be prosecuted for it.
    Answer Applies to: Texas - Replied: 1/19/2013
    Roy L. Reeves | Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    1400 Gables Ct
    Plano, TX 75075
    (972) 596-4000
    Yes. The question is, was this thing (the one found) something that could reasonably be found in a place where the thing they were searching for (subject of the warrant) could also be found? In other words, to refer to a seminal case on the matter, if the police have a warrant for a person and they find contraband in a suitcase under the stairs in the basement, that contraband which is now evidence of a crime unrelated to the warrant, can be suppressed because there is no reasonable expectation that a human being could hide in a suitcase. Yes, that is a real case, and it has a colorful and exciting back story that involves a small bomb, a missing porch, and the infamous Don King (before he was a boxing promoter). The actual case is educational, but if you are so inclined, look up the case and the history that led to the case, that is the interesting part. Back to your question however: if the warrant was for drugs and the cops found something illegal in a box in the closet, you are pretty much going to have to work to get any chance of suppression. Now if they came in looking for an illegal weapon, for example if you are being charged with possession a modified Barrett .50 cal and the cops found pot in a sock drawer, you have a good suppression case. However, regardless of what was the subject of the warrant, if the cops had a warrant to search your house to find the object of interest and when they came inside, pot (or any other illegal substance for that fact) was just right there in "plane sight" then you are screwed unless the warrant itself is bad which would be a fact that changes everything. By the way, this is the type of analysis a lawyer does everyday. Do not try to handle your criminal case on your own. Hire a lawyer to do the analysis. Contrary to belief, lawyers don't just talk to judges, we are trained to analyze the issues, think through the potential errors, find the trap doors and then and only then, talk to the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Texas - Replied: 1/18/2013
    Lawrence Lewis, PC | Lawrence Lewis
    242 Culver Street, Suite103
    Lawrenceville, GA 30045
    (678) 407-9300
    If the police are searching for porn and find a dead body, then you can be charged with offenses associated with the dead body.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia - Replied: 1/18/2013
    Victor Rivera | Rivera Legal Group, PLLC
    1011 Surrey Lane
    Flower Mound, TX 75022
    (214) 646-3236
    Yes. However, you may have a defense if the item found would not have been found under the confines of the search warrant. For instance, the search warrant is issued for an assault rifle but the officer looks in a matchbox and finds marijuana. Your defense would be that the officer violated the search warrant because he should have known that an assault rifle would not fit inside a matchbox.
    Answer Applies to: Texas - Replied: 1/17/2013
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