For many centuries, citizens were subject to unreasonable searches by the State. Luckily, the 4th Amendment and legal professionals around the country continually seek to protect the basic freedoms of citizens all over the country. Here’s a brief look at the 4th Amendment and what it means for you:
4th Amendment Basics
The 4th Amendment limits the government’s power to perform searches and seizures of citizens and private property. In order for an agent of the law to legally search a citizen’s person or property, either that citizen has to give consent or the agent has to have reasonable suspicion. If an officer asks you to open the trunk of your car, you have the legal right to say “no.”
Even if an officer has a reasonable suspicion, he cannot legally enter a private residence or search through a citizen’s belongings without first obtaining a warrant from a judge. If an officer conducts a search without a warrant, any evidence that he finds cannot be used to condemn an individual. Before you consent to a search of your home, you should always ask to see a warrant.
Expectation of Privacy
The “expectation of privacy” is another important concept related to illegal search and seizure. Since you have a legitimate expectation of privacy behind your home’s locked doors, it’s unlawful for the police to place cameras or conduct a search without court approval. However, one cannot have a legitimate expectation of privacy for items in the back seat of a car, since they are clearly visible through the window. Clearly visible contraband is always enough reason to arrest someone.
If you’d like to ask a lawyer about your 4th Amendment rights, don’t hesitate to contact Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel Law. We know that the law often overreaches its bounds—that’s why we’re proud to represent any citizens against injustice. Call us today at (408) 916-1413 to learn more about drug charges, DUIs, traffic violations, and other criminal charges.