The Bill of Rights provides several key protections for those facing criminal charges or otherwise dealing with government authority. The first ten Amendments are among the best-known and most important civil rights people have in the United States.
The Fourth Amendment is one of the most powerful and useful federal protections for those facing charges or an ongoing criminal investigation. The Fourth Amendment limits government authority by protecting individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures.
How does the Fourth Amendment help those facing criminal charges?
You can assert your rights if you know them
The Fourth Amendment protects you from an unreasonable invasion of your privacy and property. Knowing that the police cannot force their way into your home without permission, a warrant or probable cause will make it easier for you to stand up to officers when they arrive at your front door and want to come inside.
The Fourth Amendment gives every person in the United States the right to basic privacy in most circumstances. Police officers need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a search without your permission. When you know that you can say no to a search of your vehicle or to an officer’s request to come into your home, it can be harder for them to find evidence for the case they want to build against you.
You can use the Fourth Amendment in your defense strategy
Evidence collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment will be excluded and inadmissible in court. Great lawyers are able to challenge police conduct and show violations of the Fourth Amendment. Where a client’s Fourth Amendment rights are violated, the evidence is inadmissible. Fourth Amendment violations result in the suppression of contraband, such as guns or drugs. Suppressing this evidence means the government cannot use it against you. The less evidence the prosecution has to build a case, the easier it becomes to raise a reasonable doubt about your innocence.
Understanding the Fourth Amendment and the other rights you have as the subject of an investigation or as someone facing a criminal charge will help you better protect yourself when interacting with the state.