The founding fathers of the United States were extremely leery of authority
figures, and everything in their power to limit the powers available to
the government and law enforcement while still giving them the ability
to keep the peace. As such, they made an extensive effort to reserve every
citizen’s right to privacy by preventing law enforcement from being
able to search them without warning or appropriate reason. This is guaranteed
through the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and today
it has a major impact on how criminal cases proceed.
How the Fourth Amendment Protects Your Privacy
The Fourth Amendment is designed to limit the powers of law enforcement
and guarantee the right to privacy for citizens who have not been detained
or are not under suspicion of having committed a crime. This basically
means law enforcement are not permitted to search a suspected individual
unless they have either detained them or have reasonable suspicion to
think a crime has been committed.
Searches come in many different forms. While most people think of a search
being a “frisk” or a “pat-down” by law enforcement
officers, a search can also include going through your home, car, backpack
or purse, or other personal belongings. Searches can also include your
person itself, including taking blood or breath samples when accused of
being intoxicated in public or driving under the influence.
Exceptions to This Rule
Forbidding law enforcement from being able to search may help maintain
a right to privacy, but it can also obstruct justice from being done when
a crime has actually occurred. Therefore, law enforcement can obtain the
right to search so long as it’s in a “reasonable” manner.
Here are some of the exceptions that allow authorities to search for evidence
without violating your Fourth Amendment rights:
For more information about your rights and whether your search was reasonable,
speak with a Noblesville criminal defense attorney now! Dial (888) 988-5659 to
consult with a member of The Criminal Defense Team at Baldwin, Kyle & Kamish, P.C. today!
Probable cause: If police have a good reason to think they’ll find evidence that
you committed a crime by searching you, they may go to a judge and request
a search warrant. In DUI cases, they can skip the warrant, lawfully arrest
you, and then conduct a search.
Extenuating circumstances: if law enforcement believe that delaying a search or obtaining a warrant
will lead to the destruction of evidence, they may justify the search
without taking the extra step of getting a warrant.
No search occurred: If evidence is left in a place where no person could reasonably expect
to receive privacy, then law enforcement may legally obtain this as evidence
without getting a warrant since a search can only occur when someone could
reasonably expect privacy.
Non-authority detainment: The Fourth Amendment only applies to law enforcement and government personnel.
Private security, shop owners, and even other citizens have the right
to detain someone and search them, such as a security guard searching
the backpack of a suspected shoplifter.