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Understanding Whether The Fourth Amendment Protects Georgetown, Texas’ Undocumented Immigrants

Marijuana and handcuffsThis is the next post in our series discussing how one’s search and seizure rights are implicated in a Georgetown, Texas area drug possession case. Our last post discussed how search warrants to a home are obtained as well as one’s reasonable expectation of privacy. We will use this article to discuss whether constitutional protections extend to undocumented immigrants in our state. We will also look at the consequences an undocumented immigrant should be concerned with in the event they are arrested for drug possession.

Constitutional protections extend to all undocumented immigrants charged with a crime while in the Georgetown, Texas area

Undocumented Georgetown, Texas immigrants should have two main concerns after having been charged with a crime. The first is the criminal charge and second is the the possibility of being flagged by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As to the criminal charge, undocumented immigrants receive full constitutional protections while they are in the Country. This means that police generally may not search one’s home without a warrant. It also means that the police may not base a warrantless search upon “suspicion” that one may be an undocumented immigrant. This means that if one is arrested in Georgetown or Austin, Texas, on suspicion of drug possession, then that person may challenge the legality of law enforcement’s search.

The issue of dealing with ICE is more complicated than an underlying criminal charge. The nature of a drug-related arrest may be enough to lead to an ICE flag even if law enforcement obtained the evidence illegally. Texas law enforcement agencies share information. When an arrest is entered in the system it becomes possible that a flag will be set off with immigration. If ICE contacts jail officials and requests that a detainee be held, prior to the detainee being released on a bond, then the jail may hold that detainee for an additional 48 hours. If an ICE official does not come and conduct an interview with the detainee within that amount of time then they must be released. The criminal charges will then proceed as normal and the defendant will attend an arraignment in order to submit a plea. An undocumented immigrant has the same rights in a criminal trial as any citizen and may utilize the same defense strategies those with similar cases.

Undocumented Texas residents should contact an attorney immediately if they have been arrested for drug possession

If you are an undocumented immigrant who was arrested for drug possession then you should hire a criminal defense attorney who understands both criminal law as well as immigration. Our criminal defense lawyers handles such matters throughout Williamson County. In addition to Georgetown, we service the surrounding communities of Austin, Bartlett, Cedar Park, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Taylor, Thrall, and Weir. We offer assistance with immigration issues as well as with the underlying criminal case. Contact us today.

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