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Understanding search and seizure laws

If you are like most Nebraska residents, you have heard people talk about reasonable search and seizure. You have probably seen such references in movies or television shows in which people allege a search warrant is needed for certain things. But, just what are the laws regarding this and what is played up for drama's sake in movies and shows? 

The Nebraska Legislature explains that your rights to privacy are guaranteed by both state and federal laws. Law enforcement officers are not allowed even to allow police dogs to sniff in the exterior of your dwelling without what could be considered to be reasonable suspicion for doing so. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule and it is important that you understand these.  

If you are being arrested for any reason, officers are allowed to search through anything that is within their plain sight. So, if you are under arrest for suspected drunk driving, your vehicle may be searched as it clearly would be within plain sight. If you have a purse or other bag with you at the time of an arrest officers may look through it. Another exception to the need for a search warrant is any item disposed of by you in a trash can that has since been taken to the curb or the location at which refuse workers pick it up. 

If you would like to learn more about your constitutional rights regarding search and seizure by law enforcement officers, please feel free to visit the defendant's rights page of our Nebraska criminal defense website.  

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  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
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