Arrest, Search & Seizure – Basics of The Fourth Amendment: Part 2

In the prior installment of this multi-part series, we looked at the basics of the Fourth Amendment. We learned that an officer must have a warrant and/or probable cause to arrest a citizen in order for the arrest to be lawful. Arrest, Search And Seizure – Basics of The Fourth Amendment In Plain English: Part 2 Situations where an officer is excused from getting a warrant

The DiCello Law Firm believes that when people are arrested for little or no reason, justice absolutely demands that they get compensated. The money won in these cases by The DiCello Law Firm gives the victims of unreasonable searches and seizures the ability to reclaim their Fourth Amendment Rights, pay for loss of work due to unjust incarceration or detention, and get compensation for the humiliation that comes with being locked up for no reason.


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We now look at situations where an officer is excused from getting a warrant. Here’s a general overview:

  • Consent exception– Any time a citizen gives the police permission to search their home, car, or bodies, the police can do it.
  • Plain view exception – If an officer encounters a citizen in their home or in their car and sees something illegal, like drugs, sitting in plain view the officer can make an arrest.
  • Lawful arrest exception – When a police officer lawfully arrests a person for breaking the law, he or she can search the person’s body for places where the person might hide a weapon or destroy evidence.
  • Investigatory stop exception – A police officer may stop a person if he has reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is going on; the officer may conduct a protective frisk or pat down of the person’s outer clothing if he has a reasonable belief that the person may be armed and dangerous.
  • Emergency exception – Warrantless searches or entries can be done where there is a need to prevent imminent danger to others, to give emergency help or to prevent the destruction or the hiding of evidence.
  • Inventory searches exception – Generally, a police officer does not need a warrant to search a car if he has lawfully seized a person’s car and is making a list of the contents of the vehicle.
  • Probation officer exception – A probation officer does not need a warrant or probable cause to search the home of someone who is on probation, as long state and/or federal law allows it. This type of search commonly occurs in federal cases.
  • Arrest warrant exception – A police officer does not need a search warrant if he has an arrest warrant and enters a home to arrest the person noted on the warrant.
  • Automobile exception – In some states, like Ohio, a police officer can search a validly stopped motor vehicle if the officer has probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains drugs, weapons, or other illegal items.

In light of the many exceptions which grant the police the power to search and seize homes, people, and cars, citizens need to be informed to protect themselves from the rare occasion when an unscrupulous police officer demands to search or seize them or their stuff without following or caring about the law.

Do something about an unjust arrest or search. If you or someone you care about has been the victim of an unreasonable search or seizure, contact The DiCello Law Firm. Someone will get back to you and give you the help and advice you or your family member or friend deserve.