Do you know your Fourth Amendment rights?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

In the United States, we have certain rights that the Constitution grants to us. For example, we have specific rights under the Fourth Amendment that protect us from unlawful search and seizures. Unfortunately, you cannot depend on every single police officer to respect this right. This means that if a Memphis law enforcement officer violates your rights under the Fourth Amendment, then your attorney may be able to convince the court to drop any charges that resulted from the illegal search and seizure.

While the Fourth Amendment does protect from search and seizures the court might consider unreasonable, it does not mean that every search and seizure is illegal. The following information on the Fourth Amendment can help you understand more about your rights.

Searches in your home

In general, when law enforcement officers enter your home and search it without a warrant, this falls into the “unreasonable” category. However, like with many laws, there are certain exceptions. For example, if you gave the officers permission to enter the premises and search it, then the court will probably view the officers’ act as lawful and reasonable. In addition, if there are extenuating circumstances, the officers have probable cause or the contraband is easily visible, then the court may rule that the officers did not need a warrant to execute a legal search.

Bodily searches

A police officer has the authority to stop and question someone if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the individual in engaging in suspicious or criminal activity. The officer can reasonably question the individual in order to either dispel the suspicion or confirm it.

Searching your car

If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has occurred in a vehicle or there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle, then he or she has the legal authority to conduct a search. In addition, during a routine and lawful traffic stop, an officer can pat down the driver and passengers even without suspicion that the individuals engaged in a criminal activity. In addition, officers can bring in a K-9 unit to sniff the outside of the car for drugs without having any reasonable suspicion that there are drugs in the car.

If you are facing criminal charges after police conducted a search and seizure of your property, you might have a strong defense if the officers’ actions were illegal. The Fourth Amendment is in place to protect you from officers who abuse their power, however, certain conditions must exist in order for the Amendment to apply to your situation.


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