Handling Search and Seizure Issues in Portland and Beyond
In addition to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution's protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, those charged with crimes in Oregon also benefit from the protection of Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. It provides that "No law shall violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable search, or seizure…" The Oregon courts have since at least 1982 interpreted this section of the Oregon Constitution to protect not a person's "reasonable expectation of privacy" as under the federal 4 th Amendment, but to protect tangible objects, places and things. Over the ensuing years this independent analysis of Article I, section 9 has yielded many and often more protective differences between the state and federal constitutions.
For example, Oregon does not recognize the "Good Faith Exception" to the warrant requirement that often applies to defective warrants in federal court. This is so, because Oregon courts have held that the suppression of evidence seized in violation of Article I section 9 is not to deter future police misconduct but rather to vindicate the right to privacy it enshrines.
Oregon courts have and continue to independently analyze search and seizures both under the state and federal constitutions. Because of the different language, history and case law applicable to the Oregon and federal constitution's search and seizure provisions, conscientious and experienced criminal defense attorneys know to bring arguments under both the 4 th Amendment and Article I, section 9 in every challenged search and seizure. Familiarity with both state and federal search and seizure law is imperative to effective defense.
Under Oregon law, if evidence was obtained in violation of Article I, section 9, or the Oregon 4 th Amendment, it cannot be used against you. At Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C., our Portland attorneys have a robust motion practice that seeks to have illegally obtained evidence disallowed in criminal cases. This can mean that our defense lawyers will request that evidence be suppressed when:
- Police did not obtain a search warrant before a search.
- A warrant was issued without actual probable cause.
- A warrant was improperly executed and included incorrect information about location or property to be seized.
- A traffic stop was not based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or probable cause that a non-criminal violation had occurred.
- Police used deliberately false information when seeking a warrant from a judge.
- Police wrongly claimed an exemption from warrant requirements when none existed.
- The stop or detention of a person was unlawfully extended or transformed into an unlawful arrest.
These issues can arise in almost any case, including Oregon drug cases, DUII arrests, state white collar crimes and weapons cases. They can also arise in federal cases, and our attorneys will advocate for suppression of evidence wherever or whenever appropriate. This can result in an acquittal at trial or a dismissal of the charges. It can also lower the number of charges a client faces, reducing his or her exposure to a conviction on multiple criminal counts.
Call Our Oregon Search and Seizure Attorneys
Our law firm is committed to providing the highest-quality defense at reasonable rates and is dedicated to protecting our clients' rights. We offer a free initial consultation. Call an Oregon search and seizure attorney toll free at 1-888-311-2016 or send us an e-mail.