What is a Search and Seizure?

Many drug and gun cases are built based on evidence obtained through search and seizures. “Search and seizure” is the legal term used to describe the examination of a person’s home, vehicle, or business to find evidence of a crime. If evidence is found, then it may be “seized.” Search and seizure also includes placing an individual under arrest.

What is the Fourth Amendment?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects your right to privacy by prohibiting unreasonable intrusions into your personal property. An officer may only interfere with a person’s Fourth Amendment rights under very specific conditions. The Fourth Amendment protects you from being detained or arrested without a valid reason. The police can’t search your items or property where you would have a recognized expectation of privacy.

If an officer violates a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, and the search and/or seizure was unlawful, the evidence found cannot be used in the criminal case. This means that if a person’s home was illegally searched because there was no search warrant or other circumstances that would have justified the search, any evidence gathered during that search cannot be used in court.