The Fourth Amendment defends civilians against irrational search and seizures. So, it is vital to understand what a reasonable search and seizure is and when these actually begin when police are involved. While it is the police officer’s duty to search property or seize any possessions connected to a crime, there are also laws in places that protect the privacy of people against any illegal searches and seizures.
Expectation of privacy and reasonable expectation of such are the main focuses when regarding a legal search. If you or your property is searched by the police while you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. The police must show that a crime has likely happened in order to prove that a search was indeed reasonable and legal, and the search will likely lead to evidence or a crime of some sort.
There are conditions that grant law enforcement the capability to search and seize property:
- Police often retain search warrants to gain the ability to search and seize property with or without the person’s consent. A search warrant is a court order issued by a judge and authorizes law enforcement to search and confiscate any evidence they discover with the consent of the occupant/owner of said property.
- While you are not entirely obligated to grant their request, if you have given the police consent to search your property they are then allowed to do so. If they discover anything that may connect to a crime, they are then permitted to seize it and submit it into evidence, and it some cases it may lead to an arrest.
- If the cops have reason to believe that their own safety, or the safety of others, is in jeopardy the premises will be searched.
Law enforcement has several legal alternatives and somehow still find ways to conduct a search and seize illegally. Due to the exclusionary rule, when a search and seizure happens unlawfully, any evidence that is found through this irrational or illegal search, may not be used against you should you appear in court. Neither can the police use the evidence found in an illegal search and seizure to discover any other evidence. If you or a loved one has been subjected to any illegal searches and seizures, please be sure to speak with a skilled Decatur lawyer at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. that will be able to inform you of your rights and ensure justice is served in court.