Fourth Amendment: Arrest, Search & Seizures


The Fourth Amendment of the constitution places certain limitations on the government’s right to arrest, search or seize articles from private property. The amendment states that the people have the right to be secure in their homes and protect their property from searches and seizures which are not warranted and warrants should be issued only if there is probable cause and should contain exact places to be searched as well as persons and things to be taken into custody.

The methods involved in applying the rights mentioned in the Fourth Amendment involve many considerations like:

The search warrant should detail out a valid reason for the search and seize action they are warranted to carry out.

There is no need to allow the search of your property without a search warrant.

The police need not inform you about your Fourth Amendment rights prior to carrying out a search.

You will not be penalized for refusing to subject to a search without a warrant.

A co-habitant of the premise can give consent for a search of the premise even in the absence of other people living there or their refusal to allow a search.

For a citizen to be detained, the enforcement authorities should have probable cause and reasonable suspicion to do so.

Police have right to frisk you if they feel that you could be a potential threat to them or other people.

You may be asked to reveal hard objects found on you after a frisk, this is in accordance with your Fourth Amendment rights.

You may be asked to reveal other objects, even soft ones after a frisk, this is in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Apart from weapon frisk, police need a search warrant to seize other items.

In the absence of probable cause, police can detain an individual only for a maximum period of 48 hours.

Fourth Amendment does not protect things that are revealed in public, it holds only for things that are personal and you wish to keep private.

Police have right to search your vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that your vehicle might contain evidence or contraband substances.

Evidence or items seized from a private property without a valid search and seize warrant cannot be produced in court.

A search can be legalized according to circumstances. To find out if you have been subjected to an illegal search and seizure, you can consult a criminal defense attorney. A qualified and competent attorney can aid in disposing off illegally acquired evidence from court so that it cannot be used against you. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney at the earliest!

Call a Columbus criminal lawyer to discuss your rights.