Lawful exceptions to the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment protects the citizen of Arizona from unreasonable search and seizure. However, there are circumstances that the law may deem reasonable, depending on the location and details of the search. At the Nolan Law Firm, we often fight to ensure the protection of our clients’ rights from illegal search and seizures.

According to the U.S. Courts, there are some exceptions when a search without a warrant may be lawful.

  • When the search is incidental to a legal arrest
  • When an officer gets consent for the search
  • When there are exigent circumstances
  • When incriminating items are in plain view

If an officer observes unusual behavior or conduct that leads to a reasonable conclusion that criminal activity is in progress, he may stop you. The officer can legally make inquires with the intent to confirm or dispel suspicions. If you are a student, school officials do not need a warrant before searching your belongings. They need only a viable reason.

Officers may search a vehicle during a traffic stop if they believe any individual in the car is a participant in illegal activities. Law enforcement may also pat down passengers and drivers during the course of a lawful traffic stop.

The use of trained canines to investigate the exterior of the vehicle does not require suspicion of wrongdoing either.  Occasionally, unique law enforcement concerns exist. Under these circumstances, officials may conduct highway stops without suspicion of specific individuals.  Sobriety checkpoints and international crossings also do not require suspicion of criminal activity for a legal search and seizure.

Each of these exceptions has particular guidelines that law enforcement must follow. If you were subject to illegal search and seizure, you might have grounds for a suit or other action. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

The Nolan Law Firm