The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution serves as a protection to individuals who have been or may be subject to searches by law enforcement officials. The amendment prohibits unreasonable searches, and, over time, legislation has been enacted to attempt to codify what is and what is not unreasonable regarding the actions police officers can take. Generally, Arkansas police officers and law enforcement officials around the nation must have probable cause to perform searches on individuals.
Probable cause refers to an officer’s bases for wanting to perform a search. They must have a reason to arrest, search, or seize the property of another person, and that reason must be legally sufficient to avoid violating the Fourth Amendment. When law enforcement officials lack probable cause, their actions become arbitrary and contrary to the laws of the country.
Police officers often must secure search warrants to perform searches of individuals, their cars, and their homes. Warrants are issued by judges who assess if the officers have probable cause to move forward. In emergency situations, when suspects give permission, and, in some other circumstances, officers may perform searches without warrants.
Probable cause is a tricky legal concept that may not always be clear to individuals who confront it in their drug crime searches, property seizures, and arrests. When law enforcement officials lack probable cause, their actions may be in violation of the law. When this happens, individuals may have grounds to have their charges dismissed and their legal conflicts put behind them. Criminal defense attorneys can provide readers with more information and guidance on this topic.