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When Is Search & Seizure Illegal?

November 16, 2017
By The Wiseman Law Firm

The Fourth Amendment protects one’s personal privacy and every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable intrusion into their homes, businesses, persons, and property, regardless of where the law enforcement officer stops the citizen or attempts to conduct the search. This means that, as a citizen, you have rights that cannot be violated, unless certain limited circumstances apply.

How Does the Fourth Amendment Protect Me?

In regards to searches and seizures, the Fourth Amendment offers protections that extend to:

  • A police officer’s physical apprehension of a person, regardless if it was a stop or an arrest.
  • Police searches of places or items to which a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy, including purses, luggage, clothing, a vehicle, house, apartment, or business, for example.

Additionally, the Fourth Amendment safeguards individuals during searches or detentions, preventing unlawfully seized items from being used as evidence against them in criminal cases. The degree of protection that is provided depends on the nature of the arrest or detention as well as the circumstances under which the search takes place.

When Does the Fourth Amendment Apply?

Under the Fourth Amendment, the following are examples of situations in which citizens are afforded constitutional protection:

  • You were stopped by the police for questioning while walking down the street
  • You were pulled over for a minor traffic infraction and the officers searched your vehicle’s trunk
  • You were arrested
  • Law enforcement officers entered your home to place you under arrest
  • Law enforcement officers entered your apartment to search for evidence of a crime
  • Law enforcement officers entered a corporation’s place of business to search for evidence of a crime
  • Law enforcement officers confiscated your vehicle or other personal property and kept it under their control

What Happens if My Rights Are Violated?

If law enforcement officers violate your constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, and the search or seizure is deemed unlawful, the evidence obtained from that search or seizure will very likely be kept out of a criminal case against you. Here are some examples:

  • Law enforcement officers conducted a search of a home, which was a violation of the homeowner’s Fourth Amendment rights since no search warrant was issued and there were no special circumstances to justify the search. As a result, the evidence obtained cannot be used against the homeowner.
  • An arrest violated the Fourth Amendment since it was not supported by probable cause or a valid warrant. Therefore, any evidence obtained through the unlawful arrest, including a confession, will be kept out of the case.

Protect Your Rights With An Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer

You are protected by a number of rights, which includes the right to be protected from an illegal search and seizure. If you were arrested as a result of an illegal search and seizure, contact the experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at The Wiseman Law Firm to ensure this violation is rectified and your rights are fought for and protected. Reach out to us today.

Call our office at 407-420-4647 to learn how we can help you.

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