The Bill of Rights is foundational doctrine in the story American democracy. It is made up of the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution and promises certain freedoms to citizens of this country. Many Tennessee residents may be familiar with the First Amendment, which promises freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. These rights are seminal to citizenship in this nation.

However, the Fourth Amendment offers particular protections and rights to individuals to be secure in their persons and privacy. The American government may not arbitrarily infringe upon these protections and when it does individuals may have options to overcome the accusations made against them based on the unreasonable searches of their bodies and property.

Specifically, the Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, and this post will develop what these governmental infractions mean. However, readers should always talk to their criminal defense attorneys about criminal defense practices as this post is not offered as legal guidance.

What Is an Unreasonable Search?

For an officer of the government, such as a police officer, to search a person for evidence of a crime, they must have a reason to do so. If they can show that they had probable cause to believe the individual had engaged in criminal activity, then the officer may be able to conduct a legal search. Additionally, having a valid search warrant gives a government official the right to perform a search.

When the government lacks a reason to search a person, any search that occurs during such a state may be invalid. It may be a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights and may not hold up in court if it is used as the basis of a criminal charge.

What Is an Unreasonable Seizure?

A seizure occurs when a government officer apprehends a person for the purposes of a search or an arrest. Just as a search may be made on unreasonable or illegal grounds, so too many a seizure be wrongful and unjust. It is important for readers to remember that the Fourth Amendment protects not only individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons but also of their property, papers, and other items.

The Fourth Amendment is a broad protection for criminal defendants and an important legal tool for those whose arrests were based on illegal government practices. The use of Fourth Amendment defenses during criminal trials can help some overcome their charges and should be discussed with readers’ personal criminal defense attorneys.