The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects American citizens against illegal search and seizure. Law enforcement officers are not required to inform you of your rights regarding search and seizure, so it is important to know your rights should you ever encounter police misconduct. Search and seizure is a complicated issue, so read on to learn more about your rights and how an attorney may be able to help you.
What is a search warrant? If the police conduct a search and seizure without a search warrant, it may fall under the category of unreasonable search and seizure. A search warrant is issued by a judge to allow law enforcement officers to search a specific location and take custody of certain items. Before the police can obtain a search warrant, they must show probable cause to believe that a crime was committed.
Where can police look and what can they take from me? Every search warrant is different and will specify what items can be seized from you. There are exceptions, however. If there are items that police believe are connected to the commission of a crime in plain view during the search, police may seize them.
Do the police need to have a search warrant to conduct a search? Law enforcement officers do not necessarily have to have a search warrant to conduct a search. If you voluntarily give consent to the police, they may conduct a search without a warrant. Additionally, if the police believe that evidence may be destroyed or that individuals could be harmed in the time it would take to get a warrant, they may conduct a search without a warrant.
Can the police search my car? The police may search your car without a warrant if they believe there to be illegal activity associated with it. If a person is arrested in or near a vehicle, the police have the right to search inside of the car for any additional illegal substances or items.
To fully understand your search and seizure rights, or if you believe you have been the victim of police misconduct, call the Philadelphia-based Law Offices of Patrick Geckle at (267) 234-7708. Our civil rights attorneys seek justice for people who have been mistreated by law enforcement, so contact us today for a free consultation.