The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects personal privacy, and every citizen's right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses, and property -- whether through police stops of citizens on the street, arrests, or searches of homes and businesses.
What Does the Fourth Amendment Protect?
In the criminal law realm, Fourth Amendment "search and seizure" protections extend to:
The Fourth Amendment provides safeguards to individuals during searches and detentions, and prevents unlawfully seized items from being used as evidence in criminal cases. The degree of protection available in a particular case depends on the nature of the detention or arrest, the characteristics of the place searched, and the circumstances under which the search takes place.
When Does the Fourth Amendment Apply?
The legal standards derived from the Fourth Amendment provide constitutional protection to individuals in the following situations, among others:
Potential scenarios implicating the Fourth Amendment, and law enforcement's legal obligation to protect Fourth Amendment rights in those scenarios, are too numerous to cover here. However, in most instances a police officer may not search or seize an individual or his or her property unless the officer has:
What if My Fourth Amendment Rights Are Violated?
When law enforcement officers violate an individual's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, and a search or seizure is deemed unlawful, any evidence derived from that search or seizure will almost certainly be kept out of any criminal case against the person whose rights were violated. For example:
- Scathing Dissent in Fourth Amendment Case - June 24th, 2016
- NACDL: Symposium Report: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age - June 13th, 2016
- Annotation 3 - Fourth Amendment - FindLaw - June 1st, 2016
- History :: Fourth Amendment--Search and Seizure :: US ... - June 1st, 2016
- The Fourth Amendment - Privacilla - April 22nd, 2016
- Annenberg Classroom - Fourth Amendment - March 10th, 2016
- SCOTUS has two weeks of arguments starting Monday, one a ... - February 19th, 2016
- Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment - February 15th, 2016
- Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment - Digital ... - February 15th, 2016
- CA2: Crossing threshold to arrest without warrant violates ... - February 3rd, 2016
- N.D.Ill.: Withheld video of CPD shooting revealed during ... - January 29th, 2016
- Fourth Amendment - Kids | Laws.com - January 29th, 2016
- Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution ... - January 19th, 2016
- Fourth Amendment.com - October 22nd, 2015
- Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland ... - October 5th, 2015
- Fourth Amendment - National Constitution Center - September 30th, 2015
- Fourth Amendment - the Text, Origins, and Meaning - July 24th, 2015
- Government Explains Away Fourth Amendment Protection for ... - June 9th, 2015