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What is the Fourth Amendment?

The Fourth Amendment is there to protect you against unfair searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment protects you when you are in a vehicle, walking down the street or in a place where it's reasonable to assume you'll receive privacy. Any items taken from your possession unlawfully are unable to be used against you in a court of law.

The Fourth Amendment applies in many situations including:

  • When you are stopped for police questioning
  • When you're arrested
  • When an officer enters your home
  • When officers enter your business
  • When officers confiscate your vehicle
  • When you are pulled over for a traffic infraction and an officer searches your vehicle

To legally look through your vehicle, home or to search you, the officer needs to have a valid arrest warrant, search warrant or valid probable cause to search you without the previously stated warrants. For example, if you are walking down the street smoking marijuana, it's likely the officer would search you with the probable cause to believe you have more in your possession. You're doing something illegal that leads to the conclusion that you may be in possession of illegal items.

If you're stopped and arrested but have your rights violated, it's in your best interests to defend yourself with the Fourth Amendment. This amendment was created specifically to help people in your situation avoid unfair treatment from the police or government entities. Your attorney can help you use the Fourth Amendment to get any charges against you dropped and dismissed, so you can go back to your normal daily life.

Source: FindLaw, "Search and Seizure and the Fourth Amendment," accessed April 17, 2018

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