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Search and Seizure Rights

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, it is within the right of all people to be protected from experiencing unreasonable search and seizure of their properties. An officer of the law must have probable cause for checking your person or your property, particularly when seeking to use this information against you in the court of law. As an American, this right to privacy is only within reason from the federal or state authorities; the key word that one must remember is “unreasonable.”

If the officers of the law have any reason to suspect that your property can give them evidence of your involvement in a crime, or there is a specific circumstance that gives them justifiable reason to search your property prior to obtaining a warrant, then it is considered to be legal. If a law enforcement official does have probable cause, then your rights to protect anything your own or have is essentially eliminated. This means that they can search through your bank records, your home, garage, car, office, business or personal documents, trash cans, etc. There are also times in which the Fourth Amendment cannot protect a person as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court if there is no expectation to receive privacy.

First, if an individual expects they will have some level of privacy, then the officers cannot violate those rights outside of the probable cause. A clear example of this would be a person at the mall who uses the restroom will expect in their stall to have personal privacy, therefore someone opening the door on them would be an obstruction of that right. The second rule for this amendment is that if a person leaves something within plain sight, then the officer searching would not be conducting a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. For example, a student parks in the school parking lot and leave a handgun in their center console of the car, the officer can legally search the car without violating privacy rights because it was in a place where society could view the item.

While officers of the law will often attempt not to violate these rights, it will happen in certain situations; if it occurs for you, knowing your rights is essential! In the event that the court determines the evidence obtained from your person or property was done so under unreasonable search and seizure, the court may rule the evidence to be inadmissible in your case. This is called the exclusionary rule, and it means that this evidence can no longer be used against you to prove your guilt in a criminal offense. Being able to prove the police conducted a search which violated your rights; however, can be tricky, which is why searching for a criminal attorney in Mesa is so crucial to your future.

Contact the Law Offices of Trent R. Buckallew, P.C. today for the aggressive Mesa criminal defense attorney that you deserve fighting on your behalf!

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