Maine Legal Group Logo
Main Office
Satellite Office
Consultations by Appointment Only

How Police Can Violate Your Rights, and Still Use the Evidence They Find

A policewoman squatting petting a police dog. Representing how one can benefit from calling a Portland criminal defense attorney.

In a couple of our recent blog posts, we covered the exclusionary rule, and how it can be a great tool to use to defend against a criminal charge. If police found evidence that you committed a crime, but violated your Fourth Amendment rights in order to get that evidence, the exclusionary rule can be used to prevent the evidence from ever being heard in court. This can make a huge difference in the outcome of a criminal trial, because it’s up to the prosecutor to prove every aspect of their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Without a piece of evidence, they are often left unable to satisfy this burden.

However, the exclusionary rule is not without holes. There is one crucial exception to the rule that allows police to violate your rights under the Fourth Amendment, and yet still present the evidence that they found in court. This exception applies whenever police think, in good faith, that they are justified in conducting a search.

The Exclusionary Rule’s Good Faith Exception

In order for evidence that is only found after an “unreasonable” search or seizure – which therefore violates the Fourth Amendment – to still be heard in court, the police officers who infringed on your rights must have done so in a good faith belief that their search was proper.

An Example of the Good Faith Exception

One way that this can happen is if police are executing a search warrant that they think is valid, but which is actually not.

When police are investigating a crime, they often have enough time to plan and execute a search for evidence. When this is the case, they often go to a judge or magistrate and tell them what the search would be for and why they have probable cause to do it. If the judge agrees that there is probable cause, then he or she will issue the search warrant. Armed with the warrant, police can then conduct the search without worry that they are violating someone’s Fourth Amendment rights.

However, judges can make mistakes, too. If, during the subsequent trial, the search warrant that led to incriminating evidence is challenged, and it gets determined that there was not, in fact, probable cause to conduct the search, then the search would have violated the Fourth Amendment. However, because the police had executed the warrant in good faith that it was valid, the evidence found will not be excluded from trial.

Maine Criminal Defense Attorney William T. Bly

The exclusionary rule is one of the most crucial aspects in criminal defense. If used properly, it can prevent you from being convicted for a crime because of police overreaching. However, it is not without its flaws and holes. The good faith exception to the exclusionary rule does not come up very often, but it is, nevertheless, one more piece of the complex puzzle that makes up the world of criminal defense.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Maine, contact defense attorney William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146 or contact him online.


Contact our office to speak with
one of our team members who will set up a confidential consultation to discuss your case.


Great group of people. Managed to get me a favorable outcome from a very bad situation. I would highly recommend this firm if you have legal troubles. Top notch performance!!

Dave Allen

So thankful I chose this team to represent me. They’re the best, hands down. Nathan Hitchcock proved my innocence not once but TWICE, including a trial by jury. I have a family in law enforcement who told me “Bill Bly and his team are the best. If I would recommend anyone, it would be them.”

Brandon Albert





Ready to Get Started? Get In Touch With Us Today!

If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Get to Know Our Group
Maine Legal Group

We are a boutique law firm, and we stand out by prioritizing our clients’ well-being. At The Maine Legal Group, our experienced team offers personalized attention in both criminal defense and divorce cases.

The Maine Criminal Defense Group

The Maine Criminal Defense Group adeptly handles all areas of criminal defense practice, including experienced and skilled legal representation for state and federal charges.

The Maine Divorce Group

The Maine Divorce Group empowers individuals skillfully navigating divorce with compassionate guidance, ensuring a brighter future through the challenges of the process.