Search and Seizure – Is It Ethical?

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Citizens of the United States are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement or government representatives of any kind. In fact, this is a Constitutional right by way of the Fourth Amendment. Many believe any search and seizure to be an unethical encroachment on a person’s privacy and civil rights, regardless of the circumstances.

However not all searches and seizures are unlawful. Whether or not a search and seizure is unreasonable is the determining factor as to the legalities of that search and seizure’s.  While there is some room for conjecture as to what’s reasonable, federal and state laws have made some clear boundaries as to what is considered unreasonable search and seizure.

Unreasonable/Illegal Search And Seizure

According the United States Courts, a case in 1980 (Payton v. New York, 445 US 573) set the precedence that,

“Searches and seizures inside the home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.”

In other words, generally speaking, local and federal courts must begin with the presumption that any search and seizure conducted without a warrant is unreasonable and illegal. The burden of proof lies with the law enforcement agency that conducted the search and seizure to make a case for an exception to that general rule.  This applies to:

  • Home searches and seizures
  • Vehicle searches and seizures
  • Personal searches and seizures
  • In-school searches and seizures

Exceptions That Create “Reasonable” Search And Seizure

There have been a number of cases that set the precedence for what may be considered a legal search and seizure without a warrant. There are a number of gray areas that are left to the discretion and judgment of law enforcement officials.  In addition if an officer says he or she was given your consent to search you, your vehicle, or your property, a search and seizure without a warrant may be considered legal.

Strong Advocacy From Experienced Police Misconduct Lawyers

Have you or someone you love been victimized by an unreasonable, unethical, and unlawful search and seizure?  Don’t hesitate to retain the counsel of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC. today.

Call the law offices of Patrick G. Geckle LLC at 215-735-3326, toll free at 800-555-7780 or contact us online to discuss your case. All consultations are free of charge, and you are under no obligation to take your case further. All cases are handled on a contingency basis. Over the years our Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers have helped many people in the same situation as you. Talk with us about how we can help you, too.