New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

3 things you need to know about the 4th amendment

The 4th amendment is one of the most important protections extended to citizens of the United States. While we expect law enforcement to support safety and act in the interest of the general public, this amendment prohibits them from violating rights in the process of doing so. Simply put, the 4th amendment was enacted to prevent law enforcement from conducting unjustified search and seizure.

The protections that you enjoy as a result prohibit police from overstepping bounds and violating your rights. Unfortunately, laws alone do not always protect citizens sufficiently. If your rights have been violated, you should consider seeking recourse and know these facts about the 4th amendment. 

There are exceptions

Typically, the 4th amendment protects you from being subjected to random search and seizure without probable cause. This means that a law enforcement officer cannot conduct any such action if there is not a specific, individual reason to do so. There are some exceptions to this, though, according to the Judicial Learning Center. If you are on school property, for example, you may be subject to search and seizure.

A warrant is necessary

In most other situations, however, the 4th amendment necessitates that a warrant must be present to search any dwelling, person or property. This process involves petitioning a judge for approval on the basis of probable cause. Law enforcement should have evidence of probably cause to support their request for the search warrant.

Must be probable cause

Definitions of probable cause vary, and its subjectivity has been the source of contention in many search and seizure cases. It is defined, though, as the existence of reasonable grounds for proceeding. If there is drug paraphernalia in plain sight, for example, this may qualify as probable cause for a search. Even with probable cause though, a warrant is typically necessary to proceed with a search.