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What Does Search and Seizure by the Police Mean?
In: Criminal Law

What Does Search and Seizure by the Police Mean?

Most people have heard of the Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable search and seizure.” While you might have an idea of what this means, the legal standards for search and seizure under the law can be complicated. Generally, search and seizure refer to the following:

There are different protections in place for different situations, so knowing when a search or seizure was reasonable or not can be challenging. Always have a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer assessing your case and whether your rights were violated.

Examples of Searches or Seizures

There are many different situations in which the constitution provides rights involving search and seizure. Some examples include:

There are many, many situations in which Fourth Amendment rights come into play regarding searches and seizures.

Requirements for Reasonable Searches and Seizures

In most cases, an officer must have a valid search warrant or arrest warrant to engage in a search or seizure. A warrant is obtained by applying to a magistrate and demonstrating that material facts create probable cause that a crime was committed.

There are some situations, of course, when obtaining a warrant is not feasible, such as when you are driving, and an officer wants to pull you over. They clearly do not have the opportunity to go to court and wait for a warrant, so the law requires the police to have reasonable suspicion that you violated the law to make a traffic stop.

Similarly, some arrests must take place on the spot, as getting a warrant gives someone the time to flee and avoid the arrest. If there are sufficient exigent circumstances, an officer can make an arrest based on probable cause that you committed a crime. A common example is for driving while intoxicated (DWI). If officers believe that you are intoxicated, they will not simply allow you to drive away while they obtain a warrant. Instead, they can make a warrantless arrest as long as they can show probable cause that you were intoxicated and driving.

Let a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney Review Your Case

Fourth Amendment issues are complicated, but it is imperative that you identify when your rights were violated. Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer Kyle Whitaker can help, so please contact us for more information today.