Many people assume that if a Texas police officer requests to search their vehicle, person or property, they must consent to it. In fact, this is not necessarily true. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects every citizen against unlawful search or seizure.
If the police wish to examine a person’s belongings, they must do so in accordance with stringent protocols and laws that protect the person’s privacy. While there are certain circumstances in which a search may be conducted without a warrant, in most cases, police must obtain a warrant. This states what they can search for and what items they can seize. In order to obtain a search warrant, police officers must have a reasonable cause to request it.
A warrantless search might occur to protect public safety
If a police officer has reason to believe that a search is necessary in order to protect public safety, he or she might not need to request a warrant before conducting the search. This would also be true if a police officer felt that his or her own personal safety was at risk. Also, if police believe a crime is being carried out at that moment, they could enter a home or search a vehicle to investigate the alleged criminal activity without a warrant.
If a defendant believes that a personal rights violation has occurred
There have been many cases in Texas and throughout the country where defendants facing criminal charges have requested case dismissals due to violations of search and seizure laws. In some cases, a judge might not dismiss the entire case but might deem a portion of evidence inadmissible in court. In order to learn what to do to seek the court’s intervention for a Fourth Amendment violation in a criminal case, it is helpful to request a meeting with an experienced criminal law attorney.