As a citizen of the United States, you have certain rights that provide you with protection against inappropriate treatment from law enforcement. The Fourth Amendment is particularly important in criminal cases as this amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits illegal searches and seizures. If you are under investigation or already facing charges, you would be wise to know how it particularly affects your situation.
You know there are limits to what New Jersey law enforcement can say and do, but do you know when police can search your property? Do you know when it is appropriate and permissible to enter your place of work or take you into police custody? Knowing your rights is a critical step to fighting back against injustice, and it could be critical to effectively challenging the prosecution’s entire case against you if there has been a violation of your constitutional rights.
Protection against an illegal search and seizure
The 4th Amendment outlines the limits pertaining to when police can enter a private property or business, search for evidence, arrest someone or conduct an investigation. Illegal search and seizure refers to the government’s intrusion of your private property or place of business. Even if you are under suspicion of a crime, police can only investigate your property or place you under arrest in specific circumstances and by using specific methods. The 4th Amendment acts as a safeguard for you.
Because of the 4th Amendment, you have protection against police stopping you while you are in public, searching your vehicle during a routine traffic stop, confiscating your personal property and more. In order to do these things, there must be probable cause to believe that a crime is currently taking place, or law enforcement must have a valid arrest or search warrant. If there is a violation of the 4th Amendment, a judge may exclude certain evidence or dismiss the entire case.
Experienced defense guidance is key
If you suspect that you experienced a violation of your 4th Amendment rights, you would be wise to seek guidance regarding the defense options available to you. An assessment of your case will reveal if there is a reason to challenge certain elements of the prosecution’s case. You will also benefit from support as you create a defense strategy that will allow you to most effectively fight the charges you are facing and protect your rights at every step of the criminal justice process.