What to Do if Your Home is Raided in a Criminal Investigation
When police suspect that a person is participating in criminal activity, they will often obtain a search warrant in order to enter the person’s home and search for evidence. This process is better known as a “raid”.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas County authorities raided a suspected drug house on Lewis Boulevard recently. After finding large quantities of marijuana, authorities arrested a 26-year-old man for ten offenses ranging from drugs to weapons.
He isn’t the first, and undoubtedly, won’t be the last person to experience a raid. Every person should therefore understand the process of what happens during a raid, how to behave, and what to do afterward. You never know – it could happen to you.
What You Should Expect During the Raid
The first thing you should understand is that under Florida law, police need probable cause in order to obtain a search warrant. This means that authorities may have received a tip or may have been observing the house for a period of time. Either way, the authorities who come to raid your house are probably not going to be pleasant to deal with because their entire purpose in searching your home is to find more evidence that they can use to support an arrest for a suspected crime.
During the raid, your clothing and other belongings will likely be moved, dumped out, thrown on the floor, and may even get broken or destroyed. This will probably be done in front of you which is a purposeful tactic on the part of the authorities. People who are angry are usually less careful with their words and therefore, more likely to say something incriminating.
You should also know that it is very likely that no one will be able to enter or leave the house while the authorities are raiding it. If there are multiple people at your house during the raid, the police may separate you into different rooms in order to question you individually.
How You Should Behave During the Raid
- Remain calm – do not react based on emotion. You can replace items. You can’t replace your freedom.
- Remain cooperative – comply with instructions as long as they are in line with the warrant.
- Remain silent – a warrant requires you to allow the police to search your home, but it does not require you to converse with them while they do so.
Know that You Have Rights
Sometimes, though authorities have obtained a warrant, they are limited to the scope of the warrant. For example, if they have a warrant to search your house, but ask to search your vehicle which is parked off the property on the street, they have no right to access your vehicle unless you give them permission.
Similarly, you have no legal obligation to allow authorities inside who arrive at your house without a warrant. And in fact, you shouldn’t. Consenting to a warrantless search can lead to criminal issues that you could have avoided had you not consented.
Reach Out to an Attorney for Help Today
If you are facing criminal charges, it is critical that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former prosecutor with extensive criminal experience on both sides of the legal system, Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is the Tampa criminal defense attorney you want on your side. Schedule a free consultation today.