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3 Things to Know About Your Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure Rights

In criminal cases defense attorneys are charged with protecting the rights of their clients. Among those rights is the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects, among other things, against unlawful search and seizures.

Here are three things to know about your Fourth Amendment rights in search and seizure:

1. When does the Fourth Amendment apply?

In most cases, individuals have the right to privacy meaning that a search cannot take place without a warrant. This can vary depending on the nature of the arrest, including the characteristics of the location. However, a typical stop or arrest usually does not give the police officer a reasonable cause to perform a search without a warrant. In addition, search and seizures are usually deemed unreasonable when they are in places where the person has an expectation to privacy (e.g., purses, luggage, pockets, vehicle, home, hotel room, etc.) and the officer does not have a warrant.

2. Search and seizures can take place without a warrant.

Sometimes police can conduct searches without a warrant that they deem reasonable under special circumstances. This is a complicated part of the law, because there tends to be a lot of gray area since it relies on law enforcement's judgment. However, generally, a police officer can conduct a search without a warrant when you give consent for a search and when the evidence is in plain view. There are other circumstances that would allow for a police officer to conduct a search without a warrant, but either way, all of the methods should be examined by a criminal defense attorney who can determine whether your rights were violated or not.

3. What happens if your Fourth Amendment rights are violated?

If it is found that evidence was obtained through unlawful search and seizure, that evidence will most likely not be admissible in court. This does not necessarily mean that the case will be dismissed because only the evidence that was unlawfully obtained will be thrown out.

In the event that any criminal charges are brought against you, always seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are charged with a crime and feel that you were not adequately represented, you may also be able to have your case reviewed due to ineffective assistance of counsel.

Reference Articles:

Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement - Nolo.com. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/exceptions-the-warrant-requirement

Search and Seizure and the Fourth Amendment - FindLaw. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/search-and-seizure-and-the-fourth-amendment.html

Understanding Search-and-Seizure Law | Nolo.com. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/search-seizure-criminal-law-30183.html

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