Facing criminal charges is intimidating, but regardless of the details of your individual case, you have certain rights. It is in your interests to know your rights in order to fully protect yourself and your interests while navigating the criminal justice system. One of your rights includes the protection against illegal searches and seizures per the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
If Michigan law enforcement violates your rights in any way during your interaction with them, you do not have to stay silent. You can speak out about the treatment you received, pushing back against the prosecution’s case. Evidence gathered in the course of an illegal search and seizure could be invalid and inadmissible. If you suspect that you experienced a violation of your personal rights, it could have a significant effect on the outcome of your case.
Protections provided by the Fourth Amendment
In order to know whether you experienced a violation of your rights, you must understand the Fourth Amendment and what it means for you. The protections provided by it include the following:
- Protection against the search of places and things where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as your home, clothing, luggage, personal vehicle, place of business and more
- Protection against the physical apprehension of a person without cause by arrest or a stop
Police have a certain amount of authority to act as they see fit in certain types of situations, such as if they witness the commission of a crime. Because of the Fourth Amendment, police cannot stop and question you while you are walking down the street. They cannot search your trunk after pulling you over for a minor traffic infraction, and they cannot enter where you live or work to look for evidence without a warrant.
How do the legal standards apply to your case?
Part of your defense strategy may include challenging the actions of law enforcement. A violation of your rights could invalidate some or all of the evidence used by the prosecution against you. If you are unsure of how the legal standards related to the Fourth Amendment apply to your case, it may help to start by seeking a better understanding of the complexities of search and seizure laws, as well as your constitutional rights.