May 17, 2017
4th Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution serves as one of the strongest pillars of criminal defense law in Colorado and beyond. In it’s simplest terms, the Fourth Amendment provides us with the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of our person and property. These protections therefore protect us from unreasonable and intrusive governmental conduct. Some of the ways the Fourth Amendment applies to criminal cases in the real world are as follows.
Requirements for warrants. In many situations, one cannot be arrested without a warrant, signed by a judge believing probable cause exists for the individual’s arrest. Though this warrant requirement has been somewhat relaxed over the years, there always remains a requirement of probable cause before an individual may be seized by law enforcement. This protection comes from the Fourth Amendment.
Requirements of reasonable suspicion and probable cause. There exist three types of citizen-governmental contacts. First, there is a “consensual encounter.” As it sounds, this type of contact is entered into freely by both the citizen and the law enforcement officer. However, the remaining two types of encounters require a legal justification. An investigatory detention — in which an officer briefly detains an individual to determine whether there may be criminal activity afoot — requires reasonable suspicion. A seizure, or arrest, requires probable cause. If an officer detains or seizes an individual without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, respectively, the officer has violated that individuals Fourth Amendment Rights.
Additional Fourth Amendment Protections. There exist several different additional applications of the Fourth Amendment to criminal law. If you are charged with a crime in Colorado, contact Denver criminal defense attorney Jacob E. Martinez to discuss your case, and whether your Fourth Amendment rights were infringed upon.