You should always know and understand that the Fourth Amendment under the U.S. Constitution protects your privacy. It secures your right to feel safe in your house and remain secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that law enforcement cannot just break into your car or house without extreme reasonable cause. The officers will only be able to override your privacy concerns and conduct a search of you or any place they believe illegal activities are happening when they have probable cause to believe that they can find evidence that you committed a crime.

The Fourth Amendment will not protect you in every situation, this much is true. For instance, if you do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place or thing being searched, then it will be searched. Courts will use a two-part test asking if the person actually expected privacy and if the person’s expectation was reasonable. If a search violates the Fourth Amendment, many things may happen, including the following:

  • If evidence was acquired illegally, it will be admissible in court. So is evidence that is derived from initial evidence due to the illegalities surrounding how everything was obtained.
  • If a court finds that evidence was obtained unreasonably, evidence seized as a result of the search and seizure will be used as evidence against the defendant in prosecution.
  • If a defendant can show that a search was illegal, this doesn’t always mean the case will be dismissed. No, if a prosecutor has enough evidence to deem them guilty, then the case will be able to continue (Nolo).

Where does a “reasonable expectation of privacy” come into play?

  • In your home, anywhere else you live, a rented apartment, or even a hotel room
  • The trunk of your car
  • Luggage or other containers that are not transparent, even if you are carrying them in a public place like an airport or bus station
  • Your business office
  • A public telephone booth, once the door is shut

Where is there no reasonable expectation of privacy?

  • When things are not in plain view (exposed), such as illegal drugs sitting on a front seat of your car
  • Portions of your business office or building that are open to the public
  • Public places like restaurants or parks
  • Your trash or garbage once it has been sat outside your home

When does probable cause actually come into play?

This applies to cases in which there are actual facts and circumstances surrounding a possible case in regards to bringing about a search and seizure. With probable cause in place, a police officer can do many things. For one, they can convince a judge to issue a warrant to search a certain place for items and seize them, or even conduct an arrest. They can even make an arrest without a warrant in place in cases where there are exigent or emergency circumstances that make getting a warrant impractical.

There may be many questions for your attorney in the end if you believe an illegal search and seizure was conducted and you were arrested for what was found. You may want to know whether or not an officer is allowed to listen in on you or come inside your house for another reason and find evidence to use against you (Lawyers). There are many cases in which having legal representation on your side is in your best interest. This is why you should contact The Law Office of Peter C. Blair for more information today! We are available 24/7.