What Constitutes a Search in My Car If I live In Mount Vernon & Mansfield, Ohio?
Most people would feel violated if their car was searched by the police. Even if you did nothing wrong or had nothing to hide, you would likely consider a search of your car to be an invasion of privacy.
The Constitution protects the rights of American citizens, and the Fourth Amendment is what every search and seizure law is based upon in the United States, including the laws in Ohio. Although the law is straightforward, some believe there are gray areas that can be confusing.
As the debate continues regarding the "right to privacy", there are captivating arguments for both sides. Regardless of which side a person stands on, the Fourth Amendment protects the privacy rights of citizens.
The confusion comes in when legal scholars debate what constitutes a search. Breaking down the Fourth Amendment into its two most important parts is essential for a better understanding of the law.
The Fourth Amendment
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Some people go to the extreme of believing the Fourth Amendment means the police can never search their vehicle, but this is not the case. What it does mean is a search must be reasonable before a government official is allowed to search. It also ensures all search warrants are obtained due to probable cause before they are considered valid.
What Constitutes a Search?
In the state of Ohio, and all other states in the United States, a search is an intrusion into the private space of an individual. Inside a vehicle, for instance, an owner should expect to maintain a reasonable degree of privacy.
Violations of the Fourth Amendment
For a true violation of the Fourth Amendment to occur, the search must be conducted by a government official. You cannot claim a Fourth Amendment violation because their friend looked through their personal belongings.
It is important to note that the police have the right to search a vehicle if they have probable cause. The police can also conduct a warrantless search in the following situations.
* If the owner gives permission
* If the officer has probable cause a crime has been committed
* If the officer believes a search is necessary, due to hidden weapons
* If the owner has been arrested and the search is related to that arrest
Because situations of search and seizure can vary greatly, many people still become confused regarding their Fourth Amendment rights. Obtaining legal clarification is sometimes warranted in these instances.
Legal Help for Fourth Amendment Violations
If you feel your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, it is important you act right away. Speaking with a lawyer will allow for a better understanding of the law and assist you in learning about your options for legal recourse.
Our team at Spaulding & Kitzler has the knowledge and experience to help you in these situations. We invite you to contact us today to discuss your case.