Although the police have the power to make an arrest, search people and their property, and seize objects and contraband, the Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution places limits on this power. When this power is carried out unreasonably, an officer violates the Fourth Amendment. If you have been made to endure a baseless search of your person, home, or car, a Las Vegas Civil Rights Attorney can help protect you from criminal prosecution that might result from an illegal search. Also, your attorney may help you get monetary damages for the humiliation you have sustained.
Understanding Illegal Search and Seizure
A search and seizure is illegal if it is conducted by law enforcement without probable cause that a crime was committed or a warrant to perform the search. Any evidence collected from an illegal search and seizure is not admissible in court.
The Fourth Amendment seeks to protect every private citizen’s privacy rights from government officials. Illegal search and seizure only apply to law enforcement or government officials. And private citizens like landlords, private security personnel, and employers have free range in invading privacy, as long as they are prepared to accept the criminal penalties that apply to their actions.
Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement
The majority of Fourth Amendment cases arise from warrantless searches. Officers claim the search suits the exception and the defense claims otherwise. The following are the exceptions to the warrant requirement.
- Consent. The police don’t need a warrant if you consent to a search. But, you need to have the authority to grant consent.
- Plain view. Evidence can be seized if the officer can plainly see the evidence of criminal activity outside the premises.
- Exigency. A law enforcement officer may enter the premises to intervene if they reasonably think that somebody inside is committing a crime or destroying evidence.
- Searches incident to a lawful arrest. It is legal for an officer to make a limited search when arresting a suspect to ensure the latter is not armed.
Defend Your Rights
If you have been a victim of an illegal search and seizure, don’t let authorities violate your rights. Hire an attorney with experience in civil rights violations. The police don’t possess the power to stop and search you whenever they want and they cannot use the authority they have to further their prejudices. Your attorney will review your situation to know if your civil rights were violated.