FBI looking at computerThis is the next post in my series on the handling of white collar crime charges in Austin, Texas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one have been arrested. It is important to contact counsel sooner, rather than later, as such charges can carry serious consequences. In this article I will discuss how these types of cases can be impacted by law enforcement’s violation of an individual’s rights (otherwise known as an unlawful “search and seizure). If you require assistance then call my office today to speak with a lawyer.

There are many types of “white collar” crimes. Charges for such crimes can involve theft, fraud, or unauthorized access to a computer network, commonly known as “hacking.” One thing that is common to each of these matters is that they often involve the police collecting information from a defendant’s home, computer, smartphone, or from some other location. Depending on the circumstances, officers or agents may have been required to obtain a warrant before seizing such information or evidence. If a warrant was required, and law enforcement failed to obtain one, then it may be possible to obtain a ruling that the evidence is inadmissible in court proceedings. Depending on the importance of the evidence that is excluded, such a ruling may result in a dismissal of the case.

In most such cases, however, law enforcement does a fair amount of investigation and then obtains a warrant to search an individual’s home or office (including, if authorized, searches of computers and cell phones). A careful review of the affidavit filed by the investigator in support of any warrant will be an important part of the defense of such cases. As with any other search warrant, if the information relied upon by law enforcement is not reliable or insufficient to support a finding of probable cause, a challenge to the search could be successful, leading to the exclusion of the evidence seized.

There are two points which I cannot stress enough. First, search and seizure issues are more common than one may realize in white collar offenses. This is because such cases almost always involve a good deal of documentary or electronic evidence, much of which is obtained by a law enforcement search. Second, it is important to remember that even if a search warrant is used, a seizure of evidence can still be challenged in court if the facts support that. It is strongly suggested that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before making assumptions as to whether law enforcement did, or did not, violate your rights. Experienced counsel can help you to fully understand your situation and to determine your best course of action.

I have been licensed since 1995 and am board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in criminal law. Contact my office today to speak with an attorney. Our firm also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.