Does Fourth Amendment Protection Extend to Searches of Your Home and Car?

Breaking And Entering And Trespassing

Fourth amendment protection is a right we all have as Americans. Under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Government searches include traditional Police and others acting as government agents. This extends to your house and your car. Fourth Amendment protection is meant to protect your right to privacy and unnecessary intrusion from the government and government agents. However, you are only protected from searches that are deemed unreasonable.

What Is A Search?

According to our criminal defense attorney, a search is when a government official, usually a police officer, violates your privacy by invading your person, home, car, or another private area that you have control over. Some examples of searches include:

  • You are patted down by a police officer when you are arrested.
  • The police investigate your bank account.
  • A police dog sniffs around your house.
  • The police examine the trunk of your car at a traffic stop.

There are many situations where you might be subjected to a search. You need to understand your rights beware of what you say to the Police and consult an attorney if you are ever involved in a search. Even if a search seems valid to you, it might be legally considered an unreasonable search.

When Is A Search Unreasonable?

The Fourth Amendment does not protect you from all searches. It is also not the same as having to have your rights read to you. Your 4th amendment right to privacy only prevents you from experiencing unreasonable searches. A search is considered unreasonable if it is performed without a warrant. An unreasonable search also occurs if the police officer does not have a reason to believe the evidence of a crime is present on the scene.

Fourth Amendment Protection and My Home

Under the Fourth Amendment, you generally have a right to privacy in your home. Without a warrant, a search of your home is considered unreasonable without your consent to search. There are some exceptions when your home can undergo a lawful warrantless search. For example, your home might be legally searched without a warrant if:

  • There are unlawful items in plain view
  • The police officer is given consent to search
  • A lawful arrest occurs at the home, and a search occurs concurrently
  • A police officer has reason to believe a crime is being committed in the home (“probable cause”)

Every incident of a home search is different. What may be considered lawful for one search might not be legal in your case. It is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney if you have been subjected to a search of your home.

When Can My Car Be Searched?

Just like a search of your home, a warrant is usually required for your car to be searched. However, your car can be searched without a warrant if the police have reason to believe (“probable cause”) that illegal items, like drugs or weapons, are being stored in your car. Your car can also be subjected to a warrantless search if a police officer has reason to believe the car contains evidence of a crime. Its key that the search is based on an articulable and reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. Its not enough for the search to be based on nothing more than a fishing expedition designed to possibly produce evidence of a crime.

The fourth amendment protection doesn’t extend to you car the same way as your car. The reason given by law makers is that the expectation to privacy is less in a car than your home. The reasoning is that the car is mobile and people don’t expect the same privacy in their car as they do behind the closed doors of their house.

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Oklahoma Search Warrant Attorneys

If you have been subjected to a search of your house or car in Oklahoma, it is important that you connect with a criminal defense lawyer. Searches can be a complicated area of criminal law. A competent criminal defense attorney will be able to help you navigate your rights and determine a defense plan for your case.

The seasoned Tulsa criminal defense attorneys at Kania Law Office are available to discuss your options if your home or car has been searched. Our team can evaluate if a search you experienced was unreasonable and will be able to provide you with direction for moving forward with your case. To learn more about how our lawyers can defend you, call us at 918-743-2233 or contact us online.

Tulsa's Local Criminal Defense Lawyers

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