Implemented during the American Revolution, the Bill made it so that law enforcement officers must acknowledge only the evidence pertaining to the immediate scope of the alleged offense. Now, with probable cause, any warrant must be judicially sanctioned before a search is allowed. Under the Fourth Amendment, any evidence obtained by an illegal search and seizure is inadmissible in court under the Exclusionary Rule.
There are many facts and circumstances that involve each case and therefore lead to many exceptions to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. To understand if your Fourth Amendment Rights have been violated, a test is given to determine whether a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the invaded place. As an example, a person can expect a greater amount of privacy in one’s home and privacy to a lesser degree in one’s vehicle. The lack of privacy in a vehicle is due to the fact that there is a risk of a suspect fleeing the scene with evidence.
The lack of privacy is also to protect police officers. Many times an officer may ask if they can search your vehicle, you have the right to say no. Once a person gives consent to a search, that search is now made legal and many police officers are trained in savvy methods of making you waive your rights.
During a traffic stop, a police officer is able to search a vehicle without a warrant if the vehicle has been pulled over for a valid infraction and there is reason to believe that the car contains illegal items. Under federal law, the driver and passengers may be ordered out of the vehicle without any justification by the officer and if an officer has any reason to believe that any occupant in the vehicle is dangerous, the officer may perform a protective search of the vehicle. Without probable cause, a warrant, or the driver’s consent, the police may not search a vehicle, however, within the “plain view” doctrine, an officer may confiscate any weapons or contraband and use them as evidence if they are visible from outside the vehicle.
When you are pulled over, respectfully decline when asked by officers to search your vehicle and never offer more information than asked. Since each is fact based, depending on the circumstances behind the Search and Seizure, it is extremely important for you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you find yourself arrested after a Search and Seizure, please contact Attorney Paul R. Moraski at 1-978-744-1200.
Paul R. Moraski, Esq.
The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski
221 Essex Street, Suite 51
Salem, Massachusetts 01970