Amendment 4

The Bill of Rights

Amendment 1

Amendment 2

Amendment 3

Amendment 4

Amendment 5

Amendment 6

Amendment 7

Amendment 8

Amendment 9

Amendment 10

Glossary

Teacher Notes

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,...

The police can not search someone's person (body), house, papers, or effects (other things) without having a good reason. They can not take any thing from someone without a good reason.

Of course, the question always is, "What is a good reason?"
Seized drugs by using a Search Warrant
Photo from Huntington Beach Police Dept.
Unreasonable searches and seizures are those that are without cause, actually without probable cause.

Probable cause means that the police have a good reason to believe that someone has broken the law.

The police can not do anything until they convince a judge that they have probable cause, and then they can get a warrant which gives them permission to search.

and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

After the police convince a judge that a crime has been committed, a warrant is issued. The search warrant must say what is to be searched (house, car, person), when it is to be searched, what they expect to find, and the warrant must be signed by the judge.

Many cases are dismissed in court because someone is arrested for having something that was not listed on a search warrant.

This amendment is the reason for police always asking permission to come in your home or to search your car.

The police can arrest someone without a warrant when there are special circumstances.

If they are chasing someone from the scene of a crime, or if they catch someone in the act of a crime, they don't have time to go talk to a judge and then come back to get you. After they arrest a person they must then convince the judge that they had "probable cause" to arrest them.

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