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The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution is the instrument that protects American citizens from being unlawfully searched and/or their possessions seized when such actions are unreasonable. This amendment applies at both the federal and the state levels. With that being said, there are times when it is permissible to conduct a search and seizure.
A search is when a person’s personal privacy is intruded upon by a governmental agency. A seizure is when a person’s property is taken by a governmental agency as evidence in a crime when there is probable cause. Probable cause basically means that a reasonable person could believe or be suspicious that a crime was committed or about to be committed by someone. Further, probable cause has to be more than someone’s suspicion; there have to be objective facts to back it up.
Normally, a search warrant is necessary before any search can be conducted. It can apply to you, your home, your car, your place of business, or any other location specified in the warrant. There must be some valid reason to suspect that illegal activity has occurred or is occurring at the location. When evidence of the illegal activity is found, it can then be seized. If you have any more questions regarding search & seizure call a Sacramento criminal defense lawyer.
Information About Search & Seizure
There are times when the police can detain and subsequently search you and/or your surroundings. If they have a reasonable suspicion you are involved in a crime, they can detain you. This means that you are not arrested, but you also can’t leave. The police must be able to point to objective facts that support their suspicion. When you are detained, police are permitted to pat you down, and look into your purse, briefcase, etc. in the course of searching for weapons. There are circumstances when a warrant is not necessary to search you, such as:
When a police officer believes, based on some objective evidence, that another person would be in immediate danger of being physically harmed unless he enters a location immediately, leaving no time to obtain a warrant. Or an officer pursues a person who just committed a crime into a residence, etc.
- An officer requests of a person to search their home or their belongings, and the person consents.
- If a person is doing something illegal in plain sight, an arrest can be made and evidence seized. An example might be a person doing drugs in a city park.
- When a person is arrested and taken into custody, the person’s body can be searched as well as his immediate surroundings. This is mainly for the officer’s protection against concealed weapons.
- Searches without warrants are allowed in locations such as airport security, border crossings, DUI sobriety checkpoints, etc.
- Automobiles can be searched without warrants if the police have reasonable suspicion that evidence of a crime can be found there. This exception is allowed because of the fact that evidence of a crime can more easily be moved and discarded, unlike a stationary location such as a home.
Contact a Sacramento Criminal Lawyer from our team!
If you are the subject of search and seizure, then it is understood you are suspected of committing a crime.
However, if the search and/or seizure that took place can be proven to have violated your rights, than any evidence obtained cannot be used against you. These circumstances require a very experienced, Sacramento criminal defense attorney who thoroughly understands the law and knows when the authorities have overstepped their bounds. Our firm, Tower Legal Group is there to defend your rights. Don’t let your life hang in the balance. You will need the right attorney who is skilled in maneuvering the legal minefield of search and seizure and will zealously protect your constitutional rights. Call our firm today!