Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures include the person of the accused individual, as well as their home, business or property. If police have violated the accused individual’s search and seizure rights and protections, it may call into question the evidence they obtained and the charges against the accused individual. Because of the overwhelming importance of criminal defense protections, such as those against unreasonable searches and seizures, it is essential for accused individuals to know when they apply.
Search and seizure protections apply in circumstances when an individual is stopped and questioned by police while walking down the street; when an individual is pulled over for a minor traffic infraction and the trunk of their vehicle is searched; when an individual is arrested; when authorities enter the home of an individual and arrest that individual; when authorities enter the home of an individual to search it for evidence of a crime; when authorities enter the business place of an individual to search it for evidence of a crime; and when authorities confiscate an accused individual’s vehicle or other personal property and place it under police control.
In most circumstances, authorities must have a search warrant or arrest warrant based on probable cause that a crime has been committed and the accused individual committed the crime. Search and seizure protections are important for accused individuals to be familiar with and to understand the impact they may have on their criminal defense approach.