Search and Seizure in South Florida Criminal Courts: The Future Is Here?

“Virtual Searches” are not searches under current search and seizure law: South Florida criminal judges are entering a brave new world. What becomes of someone arrested in Fort Lauderdale for possession of cocaine when the search that leads to evidence is not physical but “virtual”? When an officer enters a house, or a car, or pats someone down is it in the physical world, or the “virtual world”? When is a device that increases the scope of a search a search? When a south Florida police agent uses an enhancement device to see through walls or hear conversations that cannot be overheard without amplification…when is that is a search. The Fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but what is unreasonable? In a forthcoming study on this issue the Brookings Institute will explore what we are already seeing in South Florida criminal courts. When you pass through an airport body scan is that reasonable? When you consent to a body scan is there a limited permissive search for weapons, what if they find cocaine? If you have been arrested by a police agency in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, West Palm or Miami seek out advice from a seasoned South Florida criminal defense attorney. Ask about the search that uncovered the contraband. The constitution is alive in our courts and you are all part of the question…when is a search reasonable? When can evidence of a crime committed in South Florida subject to a suppression motion? Ask and know.

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