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What Is an Illegal Search and Seizure?


When the police or other law enforcement officials want to enter private property, they are not legally able to do so without conforming to legal best practices. This is because of the rules set in place thanks to the Fourth Amendment. Often, people are unclear about the legality of a search and seizure after it happens. The following are some commonly asked questions about searches and seizures and their legality.

What is a "search"?

A search is a police investigation that interrupted the privacy of a person at their home. If the subjects of these police actions had a reasonable expectation of privacy, then they are formally considered a search.

How private is my property?

Your private property is your own, and it is not generally legal for anyone to enter it without your permission. This goes for law enforcement officials, too. Therefore in order to search your home, law enforcement officers generally need a search warrant. When they have a search warrant, they are allowed to interrupt this privacy and do things such as take photos in your home or listen to conversations that you are having. However, even having a search warrant does not mean that officials can use high-tech equipment to carry this out.

How is a search warrant issued?

A search warrant is issued by the courts and is only given if they believe that the circumstance warrants legal investigation.

If you have been subject to a search and you believe that it was an illegal one, it is important to research the specifics and find out your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Illegal search and seizure FAQs," accessed Nov. 3, 2017