As American citizens, we all have a right to privacy. With technology reaching new heights, sometimes we lose sight of the fact that many of our most basic individual rights are being compromised in the process. In this four-part series, a murder defense lawyer in Tampa is discussing several examples of ways that law enforcement can take advantage of this grey area of the law.
In the first section, we discussed how the police can track a civilian’s location through their smartphone. In the second section, we covered many legal tactics that can be utilized against a citizen in a court of law. In the third section, we focused on some of the devices the police use to surveil suspects but have a tendency to invade civilian privacy in the process. In this final section, we will offer you some parting advice on search and seizure laws and your rights.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. Every citizen should be aware that law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before they can investigate a residence or vehicle. A search warrant is the legal process of a judge approving the search and acknowledging that probable cause exists related to a crime. Without a search warrant (or indisputable probable cause), a police officer has no right to search you or your property.
Although we have listed numerous ways that the police can use technology to their benefit to avoid obtaining a warrant, the reality is that most of these devices are extremely expensive. In order for the police to operate this equipment, it is typically a last ditch effort to obtain necessary information related to a case. In addition, obtaining a search warrant from a judge is also a procedure that law enforcement would prefer not to go through. The irony is that despite all of this groundbreaking technology that helps bolster government surveillance, the primary way that the police performs its investigations is a time-tested solution.
Most citizens, unaware of their rights, consent to a search because they were either mislead by law enforcement, believe they are legally obligated to cooperate, or were manipulated into believing that they would be offered leniency because they cooperated. Although the police may have several advanced methods they can utilize to investigate suspects at their disposal, the easiest way around seeking a search warrant is to be granted consent from the suspect to search the premises. Never consent to a search without a warrant.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.