Thanks to the United States Constitution, we are empowered with certain rights that offer protection from unfair treatment on behalf of the police or any other law enforcement agency. And some of our most important rights are contained in the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment addresses the issue of searches and seizures, and the better you understand your rights, the better your chance of having them upheld.
So let's say the police stop you while you are in your car or actually come to your home to perform a search, what then? Well, in order to conduct any sort of search, the officers must have what is called a "reasonable" belief that a crime has transpired.
It follows that the police are under the impression that a search will probably result in the discovery of some sort of evidence of the crime, such as stolen goods or a cache of illegal narcotics. And this assumption is known as probable cause.
However, there are circumstances in which the police will have to obtain a warrant prior to making a search. To do this, the police must explain why they have probable cause for a search to a judge who can issue a warrant. If the police have a warrant in hand, you have no option but to let them conduct a search.
But whether the police perform a search with or without a warrant, it's important that you carefully observe everything they do. You see, even with a warrant, law enforcement officials are limited in regard to the manner in which they can conduct a search. If they overstep their boundaries in discovering evidence against you, it is possible that the evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court.
If you have been arrested and charged on the strength of evidence recovered by search and seizure by the police, it is important to have experienced legal representation. A criminal defense attorney can go over the details of your arrest to make sure that your rights were not violated. Given the circumstances of your case, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.