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What protections does the Fourth Amendment offer?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Criminal law

The basis of criminal charges sometimes stems from evidence police obtain during a search. One of the most important things for them to remember is that the evidence can only be used if it’s collected in the proper manner. 

Police can’t just walk into your home or go through your purse or pockets without cause. The only exception to this is if you give them permission. Outside of you giving permission, there are very limited situations in which they can conduct a search. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution outlines your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

When can police conduct a search?

Searches can’t be conducted when there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy unless they have a search warrant or permission. For example, police could seize drugs on a table if they’re visible from the front door if you open that door. They couldn’t just walk into your bedroom to see if there are drugs in it unless you say they can or they produce a search warrant. 

It’s sometimes possible for police to conduct a search without your permission or a warrant. One example of this is if police need to search your vehicle for a gun after you’ve been arrested. It’s also possible that some searches may take place if a police officer sees the crime as it’s being committed. 

Defendants can use violations of their rights as part of their criminal defense strategy. Working with someone familiar with these matters can help you to learn your options and set your plan for battling the charges. Start on this as soon as you can so you don’t run the risk of having to use a rushed defense.