The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Amendment “provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Essentially, the Fourth Amendment helps prevent law enforcement officials from searching a person, their car, their home, or other property without a valid warrant and cannot seize property they find during these unlawful searches and use it to incriminate them.
When is an officer said to have violated an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights?
Unless there are exigent circumstances where an officer does not need a warrant to conduct a search, this practice of searching without a warrant issued by a judge is considered to be a violation of an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. Exigent circumstances might exist in situations where “people are in imminent danger, where evidence faces imminent destruction,” or if a suspect is on the verge of escaping [Source: Cornell Law School].
An example of when a police officer was guilty of violating an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights is shared below.
In 2013, a judge ruled in favor of Joelies Jardines after FL police officers suspected his home may be a “grow house” and brought a drug dog onto his front porch without his consent. After the dog sniffed around the front door and “alerted” officials, they used this as their basis for a warrant, says Forbes and police conducted a search of the home. Inside they found cannabis plants and charged Jardines with trafficking. The evidence, however, was later “suppressed” after it was ruled that when the officers walked the drug dog onto the porch, they entered the “curtilage” of his home which is considered “part of the home for scrutinizing searches and seizures.”
Police officers who search an individual’s vehicle during a routine traffic stop without probable cause to do so would also be violating a citizen’s rights.
Now, although the Fourth Amendment does protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, there is no guarantee that police officers won’t conduct a search without probable cause or seize property they have no business taking. The reality is, police officers have been known to violate the law and the rights of the citizens they are supposed to be protecting, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept their unlawful behavior. While an officer may get away with searching a vehicle they aren’t legally permitted to search or take a person’s property without justifiable evidence for doing so, they can still be held accountable for their misconduct.
What should I do if an officer of the law violated my Fourth Amendment rights?
In the event a police officer in your city violated your Fourth Amendment rights, you are encouraged to speak with a police brutality attorney. Obtaining enough evidence to prove the officer engaged in an act of misconduct can be difficult so it is best you hire a lawyer with a great deal of experience in combating police brutality to help you. If you would like assistance with finding a police brutality lawyer in your city who is ready to help you defend your rights, contact USAttorneys.com today.