Legal protections against unreasonable searches and seizures is one of the important rights accused individuals have and should be familiar with. If an accused individual’s search and seizure protections are violated during and arrest, traffic stop or search of their home, it may form the basis of the accused individual’s criminal defense and allow for the charges the accused individual is facing to be thrown out.

Each case is unique but all accused individuals have important search and seizure protections to be aware of. Seizure refers to the seizure of the person which can include a seizure of the accused individual through a stop or arrest. Searches can refer to a search of the person, house, apartment, hotel room, place of business, clothing, purse, luggage or vehicle. When an accused individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, search protections may apply.

Examples of when search and seizure protections may apply can include if the accused individual is walking down the street and is stopped for questioning; if the accused individual is pulled over for a traffic stop and their trunk is searched; when the accused individual is arrested or if police officers enter the accused individual’s home to place them under arrest; if police officers enter the accused individual’s apartment, home or business to search for evidence of a crime; and if the accused individual’s personal property or vehicle is taken by police officers and placed under police control.

Search and seizure protections are important protections available to accused individuals through the U.S. Constitution and criminal justice system and can protect them from illegal searches or an invalid arrest. As a result, they are important rights for accused individuals to understand and know how to enforce when facing criminal charges.