While many people know that they have legal protections from being illegally searched by the police, it can be difficult to fully understand the law behind this principle. To help provide more information about your rights regarding police searches, below is a brief explanation of updated legal policy.
Limits to police authority
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that within criminal law, there are very few ways a police officer can conduct a search without a warrant. For years, as part of a public safety principle, the police have been able to search cars and homes if there is a concern regarding danger or public safety. The new ruling, however, places limits on this ability and asserts that police are no longer allowed to search homes without a warrant. Therefore, if a police officer enters a home without permission or a warrant and searches the area or takes items, it is illegal.
This decision is controversial as it means that police officers are not allowed to enter the home of a person who may have a mental health condition and remove harmful objects such as weapons. However, it also secures your right to freedom from an unlawful search and seizure.
Protect yourself from unlawful searches
The first step in protecting your rights is to know your rights. Being protected from an unlawful search is one of the most fundamental rights in the United States. If you believe the police violated your rights, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney to help you better understand your options. This is even more important if the police confiscated your items. Criminal defense attorneys who are knowledgeable about your constitutional rights may be in the best position to help get your belongings returned.
Everyone has the right to protection from unlawful searches by the police. With the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling, there is more clarity about when and where it is appropriate for the police to conduct searches.