What constitutes an illegal search and seizure?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

The Constitution and its Amendments provide varying degrees of protection from unfair police practices. One is your right against the police searching and taking your property.

The Fourth Amendment affords several key protections, including those against law enforcement infringing on your personal space. Learn about what makes a search and seizure unlawful.

What do search and seizure mean?

When the police have suspicions about a crime and your involvement in it they may want to find evidence to prove their suspicions. To do this, they would need to search your property, which includes your body. If they find anything, they will also want to claim it and book it into evidence against you.

How can police go about it legally?

A legal search and subsequent seizure of property come about, mostly, due to a warrant. The police must go before a judge and give reasons why they believe you have evidence of a crime. The judge then decides whether there is sufficient right to allow the search or not. If so, the court issues a warrant, which may limit what the police can search for and where.

A warrant is not always necessary. Your permission is all they need to search. If the police stop you in the commission of a crime, they may confiscate items from you. If they arrest you on another matter, such as a DUI, they can legally search your body to ensure you are not concealing weapons or other dangerous items. Anything they take during this may become legal evidence.

Understanding the limitations placed on law enforcement can help you assert your rights if and when you should need to.


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