Two items must be considered when determining if a person likely has an expectation of privacy. First, an individual must genuinely believe that a place or thing was meant to be hidden from public view. In addition, a court must find that society as a whole would generally agree with that person’s opinion.
For example, items that a police officer finds in a person’s yard can generally be collected without a warrant. This is the case because they are in plain view of other people even though they are located on private property. In most cases, evidence obtained through an illegal search is considered inadmissible in court. The same may be true of any subsequent information that is gleaned from evidence that was obtained through an illegal search. However, it may still factor into a civil case or be used by a judge when determining a criminal sentence.
Individuals who are charged with crimes may not necessarily be guilty of breaking a state or federal law. A criminal defense attorney may prove that a police officer or other government representative obtained evidence in violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. If evidence is suppressed, it may result in a criminal charge being reduced, a person obtaining a favorable plea deal or a defendant being acquitted by a jury.