One of the most intimidating and complicated things you could face during your lifetime is the threat of criminal charges. Learning that your activities are under investigation or that police want to question you could be overwhelming, and you may be unsure of what to do next. It may help to remember that, regardless of the suspicions against you or other details of your case, you have certain constitutional rights that police cannot violate.
One of your most important rights when under suspicion of criminal activity is the right of protection against an illegal search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that police cannot violate the rights of an individual during the course of a criminal investigation, while a person is in custody or during questioning. It is important to know and understand your 4th Amendment rights.
Appropriate grounds for a search
Regardless of their suspicions, police must follow certain steps when conducting an investigation. The 4thAmendment means that police cannot simply enter your home or any place where you have a reasonable right to privacy in order to gather evidence or ask questions. One of the most important aspects of any criminal investigation is a search of one’s personal property or place of business, including a home, vehicle or work. In order to do this, police must have a valid search warrant.
When conducting a search, they must only search the specific areas listed in the warrant. Additionally, police cannot search your vehicle without a valid reason to do so if they are conducting a basic traffic stop. You also have constitutional protection against invalid detention by police, including stopping and questioning you as you are going about your regular daily routine. If you understand your rights, you will be able to understand if you experienced a violation of these rights.
What happens if police violate your 4th Amendment rights?
If Michigan police violate your 4th Amendment rights, it could compromise the prosecution’s entire case against you. A careful assessment of your interaction with police could help you identify a potential violation of your constitutional entitlements. It is in your interests to take immediate action to seek the experienced guidance you will need in order to build an effective defense strategy and fight for the best possible outcome to your criminal case.