R. Todd Bennett, P.C. Board Certified, Criminal Law. Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
Board Ceritified by Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law
The Best Lawyers In America
AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
Rated by Super Lawyers R. Todd Bennett, selected in 2005. Thomson Reuters.
Banner Attr

Has the ‘plain view’ doctrine been invoked in your drug case?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Anyone facing drug charges in the Houston area knows that Texas laws in this area can be quite harsh. There are serious consequences for even so-called low level drug charges and, of course, even more significant consequences for major felony charges. So, if you are facing a drug case, you obviously want to understand all of the terms that come up in your case so that you can attempt to plan an effective defense strategy.

One term that our readers may have heard before in connection with drug cases is the “plain view” doctrine. What does this term refer to and what can you do if this doctrine has been invoked in your drug case?

Plain view doctrine explained

Let’s start with your rights – under the Fourth Amendment, you have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This means, in essence, that if you, your home, your vehicle – whatever it might be – is going to be searched as part of a criminal investigation, then law enforcement officials need to secure a warrant first.

The plain view doctrine, however, is an exception to that standard. In short, the doctrine, as developed under constitutional law, means that law enforcement officials are permitted to seize evidence of a crime if it is plainly visible to them in their interactions with suspects. Drug cases are probably the most common types of cases in which the plain view doctrine comes up.

However, just because law enforcement officials or prosecutors claim that evidence was seized under the plain view doctrine doesn’t mean that you don’t have options. All searches and seizures in criminal cases must be carefully scrutinized to make sure the defendant’s constitutional rights were not infringed upon.


FindLaw Network