Fourth Amendment Rights and Searches

The Fourth Amendment allows police to search suspects and their surroundings as long as there is valid probable cause. Probable cause is a step above reasonable suspicion and relates to the overall impression of an officer on whether or not a crime was committed.

In New York, officers can conduct searches without warrants if they 흥신소 have reasonable information that a search will produce evidence of illegal activity. There are several different searches that may be conducted.

Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a standard police officers must meet before they can lawfully detain or search an individual. It is a much lower threshold than probable cause, but it must still include specific and articulable facts that give police officers a good faith belief that criminal activity is occurring. If an officer fails to meet the reasonable suspicion requirement, they may be violating your constitutional rights.

For example, if an officer notices that someone who matches the description of a suspected criminal suspect is walking down the street, they may have reasonable suspicion to briefly detain them. They could also frisk the person for weapons if they believe that there is a high risk of violence in the area. In addition, an officer might have reasonable suspicion to stop a person and frisk their vehicle for drugs if they see the suspect driving erratically in an area known for drug trafficking.

However, it is important to note that in order for an officer to have reasonable suspicion, their reasoning must be convincing to another person who reviews their decisions later, such as a judge during a suppression hearing. In other words, if an officer doesn’t meet the standard for reasonable suspicion, any evidence that is gathered as a result of the search or detention will most likely be inadmissible in court.

Probable Cause

Probable cause is the legal standard that must be met before law enforcement officers can arrest a suspect or conduct a search. A person who is arrested or searched without probable cause may file a lawsuit against the officer or agency involved in their case. Probable cause refers to factual circumstances that lead police to believe that a crime has occurred or evidence of one is at the location where they are searching. Probable cause is more than just a hunch or suspicion and must be objectively based on information that a reasonable person would find credible.

A criminal defense attorney can help to challenge searches or arrests if the evidence was gathered from an unlawful search. If the defense team can show that the search was not warranted or did not meet the requirements of probable cause, they may be able to get charges dropped.

The legal concept of probable cause is similar to, but more strict than, the Terry stop criteria in the United States. However, unlike Terry stops, probable cause does not require a specific reason for the detention, but only that a person meets certain criteria that could be deemed suspicious. A common example of a probable cause detention is a driver that appears to be under the influence of alcohol and swerves, brakes suddenly, or drives erratically.

Protective Sweep

In a situation where police officers are arresting someone, they might want to search the area for people who could threaten them. This is known as a protective sweep. It is a limited search permitted by law that allows officers to check for any suspicious individuals who might be lurking on the premises. However, a court must be sure to balance the protection of officers’ safety with the suspect’s privacy rights.

The Supreme Court upheld this type of search in Maryland v. Buie, and most courts have followed suit. Officers can perform a protective sweep incident to an arrest when they have reasonable suspicion that others are hiding on the premises, and only in areas immediately adjoining the location of the arrest.

However, to extend a protective sweep to other areas, officers need to have articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that someone who poses a danger might be hiding there. If police officers look in kitchen cabinets or the microwave during a protective sweep, they are likely to be found guilty of violating the suspect’s privacy rights.

Cell Phone Tracking

Cell phones have GPS capabilities, which allow police to track a suspect’s movements. In order to access that information, law enforcement needs a warrant based on probable cause. However, the technology has advanced to the point that even without a phone or GPS, police can track suspects through cell phone signal towers.

A typical cellphone produces a time-stamped record each time it connects to a cell phone tower, called cell-site location information (CSLI). This data can help police piece together past movements. CSLI is most precise in urban areas, where cell towers are more densely packed. Alternatively, police can use a StingRay device to send out broadcast signals stronger than those of actual cell towers, tricking nearby cellphones into connecting and revealing their locations.

Local and state police have used these devices in investigations from suburban Southern California to rural North Carolina, according to public records and internal emails reviewed by EFF. For example, the Chino PD used Fog Reveal to sweep multiple crime scenes for common device identifiers and identify potential suspects in cases involving backflow valve thefts and burglaries. Two of the three cases led to convictions.

Privacy advocates argue that this sort of indiscriminate data sweep violates the Fourth Amendment, which dictates that searches by law enforcement must be specific and limited. They also claim that the ability to work backward through a timeline of a suspected suspect’s movements is not necessary to investigate the criminal activity in question.