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Do You Know Your Fourth Amendment Rights?

Last updated 5 years ago

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and is designed to protect and ensure your right to privacy when it comes to your person, home, and possessions. The Supreme Court has spent decades analyzing the text to determine what the terms “search” and “seizure” really entail and what constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure. To protect yourself from arrest, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with this amendment and its relation to law enforcement encounters.


The Fourth Amendment prevents law enforcement officials from unreasonably searching your personal possessions. This means they need to present probable cause to a judge and obtain a warrant before searching through your home, and in some cases, your vehicle. The courts have also spent extensive time defining this action clearly. An officer is legally considered to be conducting a search if he engages in behavior that trespasses on your secured personal property. This includes searching your body for evidence.  


A seizure occurs when police officers take personal property or possessions away to be used later as evidence. This concept also refers to the event when a person is arrested and placed in jail. For this reason, officers often have to obtain a court warrant to issue an arrest.

Law enforcement officials can conduct search and seizures without a warrant in certain situations: if you give the officer consent and if the item is in plain view. It is important to remember that you don’t have to give a police officer permission to search your home. The plain view exception only covers circumstances in which the officer finds an item that he has reason to believe is contraband without conducting a search. This means an officer still can’t enter your home or property without a warrant or your permission.

The bail bond agents at 24 Seven Bail Bonds can answer many of your questions about the criminal justice system. We provide effective representation to ensure that you or a loved receives bail. For more information, call us at (732) 418-2245.


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