As a suspect in a criminal investigation, the United States Constitution provides you with important protection. Any violation of these rights could help with your defense against the charges of your case.
You have protection against unlawful searches and seizures. Evidence obtained unlawfully could get your charges dismissed.
A reasonable expectation of privacy
Under the Fourth Amendment, the police must have a valid search or arrest warrant before conducting a formal search and seizure of your property. There is also the allowance for police to conduct a search on probable cause of the commission of a crime.
Search and seizure protections must balance with the individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the search. In many cases, individuals believe there is more privacy concerning their homes than their vehicles. There is an expectation that a warrant is necessary when searching a residence as compared to a search of a vehicle during a traffic stop.
Exceptions to search and seizure expectations
An officer is able to conduct a search and seizure of property without a warranty in a few situations. These include:
- When a lawful arrest for the commission of a crime is taking place
- When there are items in plain view of a law officer
- When you give consent to a search
- When probable cause exists during a legitimate traffic stop
You do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle when asked. However, if the officer uses probable cause reasoning, they will search without your consent.
It is important to know how a situation impacts your right to unreasonable search and seizure. You may face charges supported by evidence retrieved unlawfully.