What You Should Know About Your 4th Amendment Rights

  • By interactive
  • 14 Jun, 2016
4th Amendment Probable Cause

Living in the United States comes with certain protections under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These legal documents, and especially the Bill of Rights, were designed to ensure law and order and to guarantee that citizens would not fall victim to overzealous government authority and dictatorial rule. With this in mind, it is important for citizens to understand their rights under the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Fourth Amendment , for example, protects individuals from unreasonable searches or intrusions of their private property (homes, cars, purses, etc.) as well as seizures by the government without probable cause. But what exactly does this mean and how does the Fourth Amendment protect you?

Probable Cause or, more specifically,  a "reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot", is the legal standard that gives law enforcement officials the right to stop your car, conduct a search of personal property, make an arrest or obtain a search warrant. It means that the officer has the appropriate and sufficient facts or evidence to reasonably believe that crime has been or is being committed.

Some common examples of probable cause that might lead to a traffic stop, a search or an arrest could include erratic behavior, smelling alcohol or some other illegal substance on or near an individual, seeing drug paraphernalia or other illegal items out in "plain view", or an open admission of guilt in committing a crime. If any of these or other valid evidence is present, by law, the officer likely has the right to make an arrest or perform a search without a warrant.

Conversely, as citizens, it is important to understand that if the officer does not have probable cause, they cannot perform a search without a warrant or stop and detain you and your motor vehicle. Without the proper understanding of one's rights, an unknowing individual could easily be manipulated into giving verbal consent to a search. If verbal consent is given, a search of your home or car is legal.

If you feel that you have been a victim of an unlawful traffic stop, search or seizure, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Fitch & Stahle to help you understand your rights.

Fitch & Stahle Law Firm Blog

By interactive 07 Nov, 2017

After you’ve survived an injury-causing accident that was not your fault, the main job of a personal injury attorney is to prove that the other party was wholly responsible for what occurred.

But how exactly does a lawyer make that case?

In other words, what is the process that a personal injury lawyer takes to help prove that his or her client did not cause the accident?

By interactive 07 Nov, 2017

An accident of any kind, whether it involves a motor vehicle, or a slip-and-fall at the workplace can impact your life in ways you never expected, especially if you suffered serious injuries. And after this type of event occurs, the question often arises:

How long should you wait before you contact a legal advisor?

Most personal injury lawyers would answer with one word: immediately.

And that’s true, but what’s more important is for you to understand why contacting an attorney as quickly as possible can positively affect your legal claim.

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