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What does the 4th Amendment protect during a police search?

Drug charges often stem from an incident where drugs or drug paraphernalia are found on a person or on their property. Authorities, like police officers, are granted permission to search and seize a person's property if illegal activity is suspected. Under the Constitution, the search of a person and their property is governed by the 4th Amendment.

So, how does one know if the search and seizure they endured was legally permissible? The 4th Amendment protects all citizens from illegal searches by providing safeguards and prevents unlawfully seized items from being used as evidence in criminal cases. The degree of protection available in a particular case depends upon the nature of the detention or arrest, the characteristics of the place searched, and the circumstances under which the search took place.

A person may have been stopped and searched walking down the street, while driving in a vehicle, after being arrested or in circumstances where a warrant was issued for a person's arrest or a warrant was issued to search the property. If an officer does not have a warrant, probable cause must have existed to prompt the search. If probable cause cannot be proven, a person may have a case for a 4th Amendment violation because of an illegal search and seizure.

Search and seizure is an important component of most, if not all, of those arrested on drug charges. That's why it's important to ensure that your search was properly administered. If not, it could mean a big difference in building a criminal defense strategy.

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