Search and Seizure

( – As Americans, we are protected from unwarranted searches and seizures. We’re granted this protection via the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which serves as the supreme law of the US. So, what exactly does the Fourth Amendment do?

What Does the Fourth Amendment Mean?

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from any searches and seizures that are not warranted. However, it doesn’t protect citizens from any and all searches and seizures; a warrant must be obtained before entry may occur. The Fourth Amendment simply protects citizens when this process is deemed unreasonable and otherwise unconstitutional by law.

Why Was the Fourth Amendment Created?

The protection from these unwarranted searches and seizures were seen as a fundamental right, an idea created from experience. Before the founding of the US, those under British rule were subjected to the use of “general warrants” by the king. These warrants allowed government agents to not only perform unwarranted searches and seizures, but it also gave them the power to draft warrants themselves.

No reason was necessary to enter anyone’s property and take whatever was found, which became a gateway to abuse of power. There were several cases of this unchecked executive power both in England and the colonies; the founding fathers recognized the problem and knew they couldn’t allow it to continue. The Fourth Amendment was created as a way of protecting the people of their nation from federal oppression.

What Does the Fourth Entail Today?

The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s ability to detain or search a person or property. This amendment states that a warrant can never be issued without good cause, and it must be “supported by oath or affirmation” specific to the person or place to be served. So, in order for a warrant to be justified, it must first be cleared by a judge. The government or accusing body must have probable cause in order to justify a warrant.

As with all of the first ten Amendments to the US Constitution, the Founding Fathers learned from past atrocities that the government should not possess too much power. Instead, the power shall be owned by the people of this nation, and the Bill of Rights was created to protect and preserve that power.

Copyright 2021,