What are Your Search and Seizure Rights?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In short, the Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by our government; everyone who lives in the United States has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his/her private affairs and premises. They don’t, however, have privacy rights in their public affairs or in the things they hold out to be public.

A lawful search and seizure in most situations requires one of the following: (1) a search warrant; (2) an arrest warrant; or (3) probable cause/ reasonable grounds to believe that a person committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. There are exceptions to the foregoing, however. For example some basic exceptions to the warrant and/or probable cause requirements for a lawful search and seizure are: (1) consent searches, (2) plain view searches, or (3) emergency pursuit searches. Consent searches occur when a person allows law enforcement to search his/her house or car. Plain view searches occur when law enforcement is authorized to seize evidence that is in plain view of the officer, so long as the officer is in a place he is legally allowed to be while viewing. Emergency pursuit searches can occur when someone is fleeing from police contact, or when law enforcement believes a person is under threat of serious harm and they enter the premises without a warrant to apprehend a criminal or prevent an injury.

Search and seizure issues frequently arise in drug related cases. With that said, however, a search and seizure act may occur any criminal case, whether or not drugs are at issue or present. If you or a loved one is arrested in Western Washington or the greater Puget Sound region, a skilled Seattle criminal defense lawyer may be able to help. A Seattle criminal attorney will review your circumstances, and evaluate whether your search and seizure rights were violated by the government.

The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with committing crime in Western Washington. The SQ team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.

If accused of a crime in Western Washington, protect your rights – contact SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 or (425) 998-8384. It will be the best decision you make all day.

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