The 4th Amendment states that people have the right to be free from warrantless searches in areas where they have a "reasonable expectation of privacy." This refers to certain areas, or aspects of one’s personal life in which a reasonable person would expect some level of privacy.
Some examples of places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy include:
Basically, the idea is that the police and other authorities need a search warrant before they can search these areas where privacy is expected.
If the place is one where a person doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy, then it is likely that the police don’t need a warrant to conduct a criminal search. Some examples of these types of places and situations include:
If police have a search warrant, then they are usually allowed to search areas even if a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy there. However, without a search warrant, such a search might be considered illegal. Evidence that is gathered as a result of an illegal search is subject to the exclusionary rule, meaning that it will be excluded from the evidence records during trial.
Legal terms such as "reasonable expectation of privacy" can be difficult to understand. Also, these types of terms may have slightly different interpretations and applications depending on the jurisdiction you’re in. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help with any type of criminal matters. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and can also represent you if you need to participate in a criminal trial.
Last Modified: 08-01-2016 09:58 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.