Laws are constantly changing at the state and the federal level and even though the Patriot Act was adopted after 2001, it is still relatively misunderstood by the public at large. The Patriot Act loosened the restrictions about how and to what level personal information about citizens and non-citizens the government could obtain.
As a result of the Patriot Act, the government can gather information without a traditional search warrant and use this information against you in a criminal case. Given this major expansion in government power, you need to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you’re concerned that your rights have been overstepped.
The restrictions on intelligence gathering were put in place originally to prevent intelligence agencies or law enforcement from using broader surveillance laws. These restrictions arose in response to different standards for intelligence searches and surveillance and searches carried out in criminal investigations.
The Patriot Act allows for warrants to be issued for both criminal and intelligence investigations. This means that criminal surveillance of U.S. citizens can be enabled by the government without needing to show probable cause that is typically required for a criminal search warrant under the constitution.
Even when pursuing surveillance under the Patriot Act, the government needs to have grounds for asserting that the target of the search or the surveillance deserves or needs to have this information used. This opens the door to complicated issues about the discovery of criminal activity. Which is why if you believe that your rights were violated in a criminal case, that you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
The right lawyer can be of assistance in determining a criminal defense strategy promptly as well as giving you more details about how the Patriot Act might influence you. Understanding how and when the government can act without a proper search warrant allows you to prepare in the event the government moves forward with criminal charges.
Have you been accused of a crime? Do you think the government is trying to claim they were within their rights to gather evidence from or about you under Patriot Act rules? Your decision to act quickly and hire a criminal defense attorney can help your claim.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.