As the end of the year approaches, you're likely to see some DUI or "sobriety checkpoints" on the roads here in North Carolina and wherever your holiday travels take you. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations (not to mention the football games that accompany them) are occasions for serious drinking for many people. Law enforcement agencies set up these checkpoints as a deterrent to potential drunk drivers and to catch people who are behind the wheel when they shouldn't be.
Interactions with law enforcement officers can be frightening and stressful. People often aren't thinking clearly when they're stopped by police. It's essential to remember that you have rights as well as responsibilities. This is true whether you're a U.S. citizen or not. If you understand those rights and responsibilities, you can keep your interaction from escalating to something more serious and adding to your potential legal problems.
Thanks to a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, law enforcement officers don't have the right to search the contents of your smartphone without a warrant even if you're under arrest. The same right to privacy, however, doesn't apply if you're entering or exiting the U.S. Lower court rulings have been inconsistent in addressing the extent to which searches of electronic devices are allowed at the border.
As someone who is facing a DUI charge, it's a good idea to go over your rights. Your attorney likely has ideas on how to reduce or eliminate the charges against you with a strong defense, but he or she can't help you do so until you give him or her all the information on what happened with your traffic stop.
If the police suddenly arrive at your home, in person or at your vehicle stating that they have a search warrant, it means that they've obtained permission to search a location or person and to seize anything that is evidence of a crime. The search warrant itself will be addressed to you, as the person who is to be searched or whose property is to be searched.
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.
In some senses, it would seem that the Fourth Amendment makes it illegal for the police to use roadblocks. After all, you have a right to avoid searches and seizures without probable cause. Police need a warrant. In most cases, without that, if you are stopped by a police officer and you ask if you're free to go, he or she has to let you go.
People often get confused about entrapment. One of the most common misconceptions is that the police can't wait around for you to commit a crime.
In the United States, the Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal searches. Typically, if you expected privacy, it means the police have to get a warrant or your permission to carry out a search.
You're arrested, and you have no idea why. You don't believe that the police had any reason to arrest you, and you think it was illegal.