Protecting Your Rights: Understanding the Search and Seizure Law
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures. For the most part, it places a limit on police when they are making an arrest. If you have been recently arrested and are being charged with contraband or the holding of an illicit substance, you should know that the Fourth Amendment is a powerful tool that protects your rights. Soon after the charges have been made, consider seeking the legal advice of a skilled attorney who has experience in handling criminal law. Even if the items were found in your possession, it might not necessarily mean that you should be charged with having them.
This article will help you understand the basis of how the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can help you; for more information on your specific case, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Protecting Your Privacy Under the Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that individuals have the right to secure their belongings against unreasonable searches or seizures. Equally important, the amendment states that warrants will not be issued unless there is a probable cause.
The main concern of the Fourth Amendment is a person’s right to privacy. In order to honor this right, the amendment focuses on protecting people from any unreasonable searches by state and/or federal authorities. Although everyone has a right to privacy, those who are on probation will generally waive their right and are subject to searches at any given moment.
As previously mentioned, the Fourth Amendment does allow for reasonable searches and/or seizures. Police agencies can generally override any privacy concerns if the following conditions apply:
- The agency has a reason (probable cause) to believe that they will find evidence against you for a crime,
- A judge has issued a warrant,
- The circumstance has justified the search without the need of a warrant.
What To Do When the Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect You
Under the amendment, a person only has a right to privacy if there is a legitimate expectation for it. In order to determine if there is a legitimate expectation for privacy, the following will be applied:
- The defendant had an expectation of some degree of privacy, and
- The defendant’s expectation to privacy is objectively reasonable, which means that the general public will recognize this to be true.
Obtain the Legal Support of a Knowledgeable Attorney
Criminal defense can be a complicated matter, especially if there is evidence against you. If you have been arrested and the arresting agency has evidence against you, such as illegal substances, contact the professional support of a skilled attorney who will fight for your rights. The Fourth Amendment is only one of the many defense tactics an experienced attorney will use to defend you.
The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP are highly experienced in the field of criminal defense cases with respect to unlawful searches and seizures. The firm has the knowledge and experience you need to vigorously defend your rights in a court of law.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.