Your Fourth Amendment rights protect you from illegal search and seizure. Relying on this Amendment can be a strong criminal defense tactic, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of exceptions to the warrant requirement, which has granted law enforcement an ever-increasing ability to conduct searches and seizures. A recent Supreme Court case, though, has reined in that authority in some respect.
Supreme Court says “No” to warrantless handgun search
In that case, a man’s firearms were seized under red flag laws after law enforcement became concerned that the man might pose a risk to himself and others following a verbal dispute with his wife. The seizure occurred without a warrant, and the man was not allowed to have his guns back after asking for them. He then filed a lawsuit.
The heart of the case was an exception to the warrant requirement that allows law enforcement to perform community caretaking functions. These functions focus on preventing emergency situations from occurring and were initially implemented for law enforcement to take certain actions following motor vehicle accidents. Since then, the exception has just grown wider and wider. The Supreme Court’s refusal to endorse expanding the exception further to include warrantless searches for handguns under red flag laws highlights the Court’s insistence that due process rights be protected.
Protect your due process rights
Everyone is afforded due process and should not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. But it’s up to you to raise these arguments in your case. This means that you need to know your rights, the law, and how to apply the law to your unique set of circumstances. If you inadequately do so, then you might be facing a conviction that you otherwise could have avoided. Therefore, if you’d like to ensure that your rights are as fully protected as possible, then you may want to think about reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.