Search and seizure is one of the most important constitutional rights Americans hold. The Fourth Amendment protects all citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, most likely from police and law enforcement. In order to be constitutional, a search and seizure must be based on probable cause, and varying from state to state, based on the contents of a search warrant or outside sources. Regardless of your situation, if you have the subject of a search and seizure in Phoenix, you should talk to a defense attorney today.
Search and Seizure
In search and seizure cases, the court must determine if the person in question had a reasonable expectation to privacy which society would generally recognize. For example, you cannot be searched without a warrant unless circumstances justify a search. Otherwise, officers need to prove probable cause to receive a search warrant from a judge. Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief that an individual has, is, or will commit a crime.
Jay-Z & Search and Seizure
Perhaps the most pop-culture use of “search and seizure” knowledge comes from rapper Jay-Z’s song, “99 Problems,” which actually provides useful insight into the Fourth Amendment. Professor Mason from Southwestern Law School provides commentary into the song and takes the song verse by verse to explain the correct and incorrect notations. For example, Jay-Z alludes that police need a warrant to search your car, but the Supreme Court has held that cars can be searched if officers have probable cause. Jay-Z does make some correct points in his song, such as asking an officer if you are under arrest if you are pulled over. Professor Mason admits that this is smart because if the officer says you are not under arrest, he can only search for contraband with probable cause.
As Jay-Z has no doubt discovered, the constitutionality of most searches and seizures turn on whether officers have probable cause, no matter the situation.