Articles Posted in Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure. What areas can a person expect to have their privacy protected? Where does their privacy end, and public space is open.

Each person is protected by the Fourth Amendment in an area where they have a “legitimate expectation of privacy. ” The difficult part is ascertaining what is considered to have a legitimate expectation of privacy. Case law has established a two part test to determine what is protected by a person’s Constitutional rights. Did the person actually expect some degree of privacy, and was that privacy objectively reasonable?

For example, if a person is in a dressing room changing and officers have placed a video camera in the stall to catch shoplifters, it is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. The person who is in the dressing room, expects that it is a private place, no one is watching, and therefore they have a legitimate expectation of privacy in a room where they changes, even if it is technically a public place.

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a person is protected against illegal search and seizure. No one’s personal space with which they have a legitimate right to privacy may be violated by unreasonable search. Any authority searching personal spaces must have a search warrant, or probable cause, or the search will be unreasonable.

If the evidence was seized unreasonably, and it is proven in Court that officer’s violated the person’s Fourth Amendment rights, the exclusionary rule will apply.

The exclusionary rule states that any evidence that has been obtained as a result of an unreasonable search or seizure, will be excluded as direct evidence in a criminal case. Many feel that it is extreme to now allow evidence that could convict a guilty person due to a officer’s misconduct. However, the exclusionary rule deters officers from straying from rules that protect a citizen’s privacy.

When an officer feels that they need to search your home, personal space or belongings, they will have to obtain a search warrant. Your personal space is protected from unreasonable searches by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. If officers feel that they have to search any area that is under your immediate control and personal, they must obtain a search warrant, unless there is probable cause for an immediate search.

In situations where there are no exigent circumstances, officers will have to first obtain a search warrant. Exigent circumstances are those in which if the officer’s don’t act immediately, the evidence may be destroyed, or they may lose the suspect.

For example, officer’s respond to call made by neighbors regarding loud noise and yelling coming from the house next door. When officers arrive at the house, a distressed woman answers and looks as if she has been harmed. Officers ask if she is ok, and hear voices in the background saying that it is the police and officer’s see drug paraphernalia and drugs on the table behind the woman. Immediately, officers ask the woman to step aside, enter the premises and confiscate all drugs and related paraphernalia.

Under the United States Constitution, you are provided many protections and right. One of the most heavily protected rights is the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment right reads:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The right protects your privacy, and promises that your personal space and belongings will not be unreasonably searched. However, officers and government agents have the right to search your personal space and belongings under circumstances that make it reasonable.