According to the Fourth Amendment, police officers have limited power to make arrests, seize contraband and search property. These limits are known as search-and-seizure laws. The law protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and unlawful arrests. Therefore, all citizens should enjoy the right to privacy and unjustified interference by the government. However, the law protects you from only searches and seizures done by the government and those that are unreasonable. If you reside in Virginia, here’s what you should know about privacy and warranty requirements.
All over the country, warrantless searches on private property are not allowed. However, there are instances where the search is lawful. Such instances include:
- When a police officer has the consent to search
- If the search will result in a lawful arrest
- When there’s probable cause
Warrantless search and seizure of objects in plain view are not illegal. Moreover, a warrantless seizure of abandoned property on an open field isn’t a violation of the search-and-seizure law since there’s an exception to privacy. However, most states have an exception to this limitation by protecting open fields. If police officers violate your interests, your attorney may bring this up during criminal defense proceedings.
Search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment
The court will determine whether police violated the search-and-seizure law under the Fourth Amendment. A search is when a government official violates your expectation of privacy. Strip searches and electronic surveillance are reasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment. For a proper seizure, the officer should show legal authority, and the person should submit to that authority.
All searches and seizures ought to be reasonable, and there’s often no need for excessive force. However, if you are facing criminal charges, consult an attorney. An attorney may help protect your Fourth Amendment rights while advocating for you in court.