One of the many important roles of law enforcement is to investigate criminal activity and apprehend the ones responsible for breaking the law. Part of this process involves the gathering and examination of evidence, yet there are strict laws surrounding how and when they may enter, search or take personal property. The United States Constitution provides you with protection against illegal searches and seizures.
If you believe that you experienced a violation of your 4th Amendment rights, there are options available to you. You may be able to challenge the evidence against you, and if there is evidence of improper procedure, it could undermine the prosecution’s case. It is in your interests to know your rights and understand proper police procedure in order to understand if there was an illegal search and seizure in your case.
Know your rights
The 4th Amendment protects your right to privacy, even in the event you are subject to a criminal investigation. This is your safeguard against unreasonable searches of your personal property or detention by law enforcement. While there are times when law enforcement can legally conduct a search, the 4thAmendment applies in the following situations:
- During a stop for a minor traffic infraction
- Entering a home or place of work to place someone under arrest
- Gaining entry to a private residence or place of business to search for evidence of a crime
- Confiscating a personal vehicle or personal property as part of an investigation
There are limits to how and when police can conduct searches, take property or detain someone. In order to do these things, they must have a valid arrest warrant, probable cause to believe a crime is taking place or a valid search warrant. Illegally obtained evidence cannot be part of a criminal case against you.
Your defense starts now
You can begin building your defense as soon as possible after an arrest or learning of an investigation into your activities. The most appropriate way to protect your interests depends on the details of your individual case. It may be helpful to take the time to learn about the specific charges against you and the proper police procedure in order to understand if you experienced a violation of your 4th Amendment rights.