When the police suspect you committed a crime, they must follow procedures before searching your person or property. If you feel like the cops violated your rights, the prosecution may have difficulty using the evidence in court against you.
According to the U.S. Courts, the Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures. How should you react if an officer asks to search your car or home?
What to do when an officer knocks on your door
Without a warrant, you do not have to let an officer into your home. In fact, letting an officer into your home could compromise your case if you have anything the police may use against you. You can remain polite with the officer at your door, but you do not have to invite him or her into your home.
However, if the officer can see evidence from the doorway in plain view, he or she can seize it. If you consent to a search, the officer can look through your home. Likewise, if there is probable cause to enter the home, the officer can.
What to do at a traffic stop
If an officer pulls you over, you do not have to consent to a full search of your car. Cops can perform a traffic stop for any suspicion of traffic violations or criminal activity. Additionally, the officer can perform a pat down on any person in the vehicle. The police do not have to believe that there is criminal activity. The officer, however, cannot search your trunk without your permission or probable cause.
Determining whether the police had probable cause can change the course of your case.