Application of the Fourth Amendment Essay

The courts need to determine what a search or seizure includes under the Fourth Amendment. If a case claimed by a person does not fall under the Fourth Amendment, then protection under the fourth amendment cannot be claimed.

Search: Under Fourth Amendment, a search occurs when any of the agents or employees of the government violate someone’s privacy. Visual searches and strip searches come under reasonable searches in the Fourth Amendment if there is probable cause and the search is conducted correctly. If the search violates the expectation of privacy, then a dog-sniff inspection cannot be carried out under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment considers electronic surveillance as a mode of search.

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Seizure: Under the Fourth Amendment, a seizure of a person happens when a police official communicates with a person regarding the situations surrounding the case, and that person cannot ignore it and leaves it according to the police’s will.

A seizure of a person constitutes two elements. Firstly, the police officer must have some authority. Showing weapons or handcuffs, making physical contact, or using forceful language usually indicates the presence of authority. Secondly, the person who has been seized must give in to the authorities.

An arrest warrant is required to make a lawful arrest under the Fourth Amendment, but it is unnecessary. If there is an urgent need or cause before the arrest, a warrantless arrest can be made. Probable cause means the officer believes that the suspect may be guilty based on the information and facts before the arrest. If the police officer fails to show enough evidence, then the warrantless arrest is invalidated. If a warrantless arrest is made, then quick actions may be taken within 48 hours.

Application of the Fourth Amendment
In the following situations, the Fourth Amendment provides the individual’s constitutional protection:

When police stop someone walking on the road for questioning.

When a police officer stops someone for traffic questioning, the officer looks for something in the vehicle’s trunk.

When an individual is arrested.

When police officers go into someone’s house to arrest.

When an officer enters someone’s house to search for some clue of the crime. There are many legal obligations to save Fourth Amendment rights in any of the instances. Usually, an officer should not search or seize someone’s property unless the police officer has:

A valid search warrant.

A valid arrest warrant.

Believing up to the level of “probable cause” that someone has committed a crime.

The Consequences when a Search violates the Fourth Amendment
Following are the consequences when a police officer performs an illegal search:

If the court realizes that a search has occurred that was not reasonable, then the evidence seized from the search is not allowed to be used as direct evidence. Many argue that the exclusionary rule is not fair as the criminal is set free. To counter this, many argue that this rule prevents the police from conducting illegal searches.

The evidence resulting from an illegal search is not allowed in court. Besides that, any additional evidence gathered from the initial evidence is also not admissible in the court.

There is a belief that if any defendants can show that a search was not legal, then the case is dismissed, which is not valid. If someone has enough evidence to show the defendant is guilty, the case must continue.

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