A police officer cannot search an automobile during a traffic stop unless there is probable cause. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure activities. Law enforcement professionals need probable cause (evidence needed to conduct searches, make arrests or obtain search warrants), and a warrant in many cases, to search your person or belongings.
Cedar Rapids Police conduct illegal search and seizure.
Past activities of Cedar Rapids police include seizure of property from a vehicle without a search warrant. A Nevada man claims his property was illegally seized during a traffic stop in Cedar Rapids. The police detained the man even though a detection dog found nothing that would substantiate a seizure of his belongings including a computer from his car. The Iowa State high court had ruled that officers could not detain people unnecessarily long writing traffic tickets awaiting the arrival of drug detection dogs, unless there was compelling evidence of wrongdoing which was not the case here. Any evidence collected in these circumstances will not be admissible in court.
Police exceptions and violations of 4th Amendment.
There are exceptions to the 4th Amendment right regarding search and seizure activity. Common examples for police officers are 1) when someone is caught in the act of committing a crime or there is probable cause; and 2) conducting a pat down search when an officer believes that a person is behaving in a manner to give the officer expressed suspicion that a crime is, or will be committed. In theory, a warrant is required before police can search an area but, on the streets, there are daily exceptions to the practice of obtaining a warrant. Police can search automobiles without warrants, or detain people on the street in an emergency situation without going to a judge. The arguable idea here is “in an emergency” whereby these standards need to be placed out in front of and judged in a court of law.
Police are hovering the fine line of the 4th Amendment when they:
- Claim to hear a noise, or someone reports a noise, and they conduct a search on private property.
- Make a person get out of the car during a traffic stop and frisk them if they have not done anything suspicious. If they have a cell phone in a pocket that information could be illegally viewed and if there is incriminating evidence, a police officer may then expand a search.
- Searching a car during a traffic stop because of suspicious driver movements or due to a bias-based profiling stop
- Entering someone’s home who may not be familiar with the law and conducting a search without permission because the person just let them in the door because of the badge.
Hire an attorney.
If you have been a victim of illegal search and seizure activity, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Eells & Tronvold to review your case for a possible legal claim against the officer or the department.
Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC
1921 51st Street, NE,
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400