The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, commonly known as the “search and seizure” amendment, endows all citizens with a right to personal privacy. This prevents law enforcement and government officials from intruding on people or their property without sufficient reason. In drug arrests, this right is of the utmost importance, as it could stop police from finding incriminating evidence. Before meeting with your drug offense lawyer, brush up on your Fourth Amendment knowledge with the following guide.
What Role Does the Fourth Amendment Play in Drug Arrests?
When a police officer pulls you over or knocks on your door, they can't start rummaging through your belongings because they suspect you're holding onto drugs. First, they must ask a judge for a search warrant, which will only be granted if they can prove that your property likely contains illegal substances. Even if they have a warrant, they can only search the area the judge permitted, and they can't take anything besides evidence pertaining to the warrant. If an officer violates your Fourth Amendment rights, they won't be able to use the evidence they gathered in court, as it was obtained illegally.
How Do You Exercise Your Fourth Amendment Rights?
To protect yourself from an arrest, it's important to say the right thing. If you're pulled over and the officer doesn't provide a warrant, say the following phrase: "I do not consent to searches." If you do and the officer proceeds to search your property, your court case will likely be foolproof. The charge will typically be cleared from your criminal record because any information obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment can't be used as evidence.
When Don’t Fourth Amendment Rights Apply?
There are some cases where the search and seizure law doesn't apply. For example, if an officer has reason to make an arrest, they can search for weapons or other hazardous items. If they're pulling you over, they're also allowed to search for evidence pertaining to the crime. This may include searching for alcohol after a breathalyzer test. However, they can't search the vehicle for evidence of other crimes, such as drug possession. On the other hand, if there are drugs in plain view when they pull you over, they can seize the evidence without a warrant.
If you’re looking for a drug offense lawyer to help you argue your case, reach out to James F. Bogen, Attorney at Law. This Cincinnati, OH, lawyer has over 10 years of experience defending area residents, and will work hard to fight for your rights. Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, call Attorney Bogen at (513) 503-7251 today. You can also visit his website to learn more about this trusted drug offense lawyer.