Searches and Seizures

This page will introduce you to what you may and maybe better not do when the police wants something from you. You will learn all about if and how and what police officers might search and seize from you. Do you have any legal approach against seizures? Sure!


Help me. The police just came into my apartment and turned everything upside down. What are my rights?

First of all, take a deep breath and calm down. Do not bug the police officers, and do not restrain them by force. They would then haul you in for resisting the lawful exercise of their authority. Call your attorney! As a practical consideration, you can hardly do anything against a search. Your attorney’s main function will be to check out if the requirements for the search have been met and protect you against the “vacuum cleaner effect”. That is what happens when the police stumble onto something that leads them to think more crimes could have been committed than they originally thought. Then they dig ever deeper and more thoroughly. Best bet: stay cool! 

Well, I see that it is hard to stop them, but they are carting away boxes of stuff. I do not have any idea what they are taking with them. All I got was a slip saying that they have seized 10 boxes of miscellaneous items.

This breaks the rules. Your lawyer will insist that the police catalog the items they seized so you can get a handle on what they took. It would be good if you number the pages of each file and jot down the number in the cover. The list you get must explicitly show what has been seized. If you need these documents to keep your business running, try to convince them to give you the possibility to make or receive copies (at your expense, of course).


Additional information