Even if a Louisiana resident has not attended law school, they may be familiar with the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, a federal document that ensures that Americans are protected from various infractions by the government. The Fourth Amendment is of interest to many criminal defendants because it concerns actions that are undertaken by law enforcement officials during stops, searches and arrests.
Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officials and agents of the government may not unreasonably intrude on citizens’ lives. That means that they cannot arbitrarily search individuals’ homes, cars and persons without a reason. Often, law enforcement officials will secure warrants from the courts so that they may undertake searches and the seizure of property. When they do not get warrants, they must have probable cause to perform legal searches and seizures.
Individuals facing drug charges may know all too well just what actions law enforcement officials may attempt to undertake when they are looking for evidence of alleged drug crimes. They may feel violated as police officers empty their bags, riffle through their cars or physically search their bodies to find evidence of wrongdoing. When law enforcement officials overstep their boundaries, an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights may be violated.
An illegal search or seizure of property violates a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. When this happens, the evidence on which their arrest is based may be eliminated from their criminal case. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help someone who was subjected to an illegal search to overcome their drug charges and find freedom from the criminal justice system.