After having watched procedural dramas for many years, most North Carolina residents may be under the impression that every arrest made is legal and searches conducted reasonably. However, this is not always the case—certain legalities must be completed by the officers in question to ensure that an arrest and search does not violate the accused’s constitutional rights.

The Fourth Amendment of the American Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of both person and property. This is true whether someone is stopped on the street, in their home or in their place of business. There are specific circumstances in which police interference is warranted, and in those situations, it must be proven in court.

The Fourth Amendment protects people if they have been stopped for questioning in the street or if their trunk is being searched while being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. Generally, a person or property cannot be searched or seized without a valid warrant, whether search or arrest and belief that there is a probable cause that someone may have committed a crime.

An aggressive criminal defense questions the circumstances leading to the original search and seizure. This included looking at the totality of the situation, including the nature of the detention, characteristics of the place being searched and circumstances of the search. If someone’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, it is possible that the resulting evidence will be excluded from the case. This is true whether the evidence is physical or a confession, but this is not automatic.

The criminal justice system is complicated and laws surrounding constitutional rights in criminal matters can be complicated. It might be helpful to speak to an experienced attorney for guidance on how to protect one’s rights and present an aggressive defense.