When Can the Police Search Me?

by | Jun 8, 2021 | Criminal Defense Attorney

The U.S. Constitution works to limit the powers of law enforcement and the government while still allowing them the ability to maintain peace. The Fourth Amendment, in particular, reserves the right of every citizen to reasonable privacy by obstructing law enforcement’s ability to search a person without adequate justification. 

Today, this amendment has a significant impact on criminal case proceedings. Here’s what you need to know about unreasonable search and seizure and where to get legal help if you’ve been arrested for a crime. 

What Is Unreasonable Search & Seizure? 

An unreasonable or illegal search and seizure occurs when law enforcement officers decide to conduct a search without enough cause. For example, if a person was pulled over and their vehicle was searched, but the police did not see, hear, or smell anything that indicated a crime may have occurred, this may be considered an unreasonable search. 

In this instance, where a warrant could not have been issued prior to the traffic stop, the police would have had to reasonably expect that the person committed a crime in order to legally search the vehicle. 

When Searches Are Legal 

Searches can legally be conducted by police officers in the following circumstances: 

  • When there’s probable cause to perform a search 
  • In emergency situations or under extenuating circumstances 
  • When a warrant has been issued 
  • When someone gives permission 

Searches conducted by private security are not subject to the same restrictions as those by law enforcement. Additionally, police do not need a warrant or probable cause to seize evidence that was out in the open where there was no reasonable expectation of privacy or where the police did not need to conduct a search at all to locate the evidence. 

Arrested for a Crime? Call a South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Now 

If you were arrested and charged with a criminal offense, your future, reputation, career, and more are on the line. You need to take action now to ensure that your rights are protected and that evidence that was illegally obtained cannot be used against you in court. An experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you fight for those rights and increase the chances that your case will be dismissed or that you’ll be charged with a lesser crime and penalized less harshly. Contact Michael T. Rabideau today for a consultation to discuss the merits of your case by calling (561) 820-4848.