Your Rights Against Search & Seizure
Can The Police Stop Me Anytime?
The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Read that carefully. Not allsearches and not all seizures are prohibited, just those that are unreasonable. You do have a right to privacy and a right to be free from intrusion by the government, but that right is not without limits.
This means that yes, the police can stop you. If the police believe that you have committed an infraction like speeding, that you are driving while impaired or that you may have committed another criminal act, they can pull you over to write a citation or to investigate. If the police have a warrant issued by a judge or magistrate, they can stop you and arrest you.
Protections Against Unlawful Search And Seizure
Your best protection against a violation of your rights is actually knowing what your rights are. If have been subjected to any of the following, you should contact a defense lawyer today:
- A traffic stop
- A police investigation
- An internal investigation
- A grand jury investigation
The depth of law enforcement involvement in each of these types of search and seizure are different. A roadside stop by a uniformed officer may seem simple compared to years of scrutiny from business professionals involved in an internal investigation or audit. In any of these instances however, it is your future and your reputation that are one the line and it is in your best interest to have a defense attorney on your side.
What Can Be Searched And When?
If a search is not conducted at the time of an arrest, if you have not given your consent to a search or if no other exception applies, a warrant is required. The warrant must be supported by probable cause and issued by a judge or magistrate. A properly-issued warrant will allow police to search your car, home, boat, vacation home, bank safety deposit box or other location and to seize any evidence relevant to the investigation, including personal effects, business records and much more.
If you are suspected of trafficking drugs, be prepared for every inch of your car(s) to be searched. If you are suspected of possessing or distributing child pornography, expect that your computer, hard drive, flash drive and even smartphone will be seized and subjected to a detailed computer forensics evaluation. If you are suspected of defrauding your employer or the government, be prepared for business and financial statements to be seized and searched.