Outlined in the U.S. Constitution is the right for Americans to be free from illegal searches and seizures of their property. However, over the years, the court system has allowed certain searches to occur without a warrant if a police officer believes there is an emergency or danger. Outlined below is new guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court that clarifies what constitutes an emergency.
Misdemeanor or felony
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court came down with a decision that limits the ability of the police to search someone’s property. In their decision, the judges essentially stated that the police cannot always make a final determination about the circumstances in which a warrant is needed. Ultimately, this means police officers will now need to request a warrant to search someone or their property for more criminal defense cases, especially for those that are minor crimes such as misdemeanors. There may be more leeway for a search and seizure without a warrant in an emergency where a fleeing suspect might cause more harm.
What this means for you
If you believe you have a case in which a police officer did not legally search you, you may want to seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney. It may be beneficial to look for an experienced lawyer who is familiar not only with state law but federal crimes as well may help you.
The U.S. legal system attempts to provide equal protection for everyone. This means preventing law enforcement from searching and seizing property without a valid reason to do so. When you know more about your rights, you can be better prepared to ensure that they are not violated.