Although all citizens are entitled to privacy, there are times when police may engage in searches or seizures of property. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says that police may engage in such activity if there is reason to believe that a crime has occurred. Furthermore, police must believe that evidence of the crime will be uncovered during a search.
Although most searches are done without a warrant, it may be necessary to first obtain one from a judge. If an individual has no expectation of privacy, police may do a search without violating an individual’s rights. A court will determine whether an individual had a right to privacy by asking two key questions. The first is whether or not the individual had an expectation to privacy, and the second question is what that expectation was.
In the event that a warrant is granted, police generally may only search the area listed on the warrant and look for items on the warrant. However, it may be possible to expand the search to protect the safety of other people and to ensure that evidence is not destroyed during a search. If items are found in plain sight, police may obtain more information about them, even if it was not included in the warrant.
Anyone who is charged with a crime may wish to talk to a criminal defense lawyer. He or she may be able to help have the charge dropped or even expunged. When a charge is expunged from an individual’s criminal record, it is as if the charge was never there. A lawyer may accomplish this by arguing that there is insufficient evidence for the charge or that evidence used to make the charge was flawed or otherwise inadmissible in court.