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Warrants and hot pursuit in Georgia

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2021 | Criminal defense

As a resident of the United States, you should know that you have constitutional rights that no one can trample upon, not even police officers. One of your most fundamental rights, the Fourth Amendment, protects you from unreasonable searches, pursuits, seizures, or other forms of intrusion. Read on to learn more about your right to protection from unreasonable seizure and the exigent circumstances that could allow police to do so.

Your Fourth Amendment right

The Georgia Constitution and the Fourth Amendment provide a similar baseline for searches and seizures. Basically, a police officer must obtain a warrant before they intrude on your privacy, including your car, home, or other personal effects, or they need to have a solid reason to invade your privacy without a warrant.

Also, if the warrant says that the police officer should only search the house, they have no right to go to the backyard or any places other than the area stipulated on the search warrant. If the warrant says that they should search only you, they cannot touch any other person in the room or your car.

Exigent circumstances

Although a police officer needs a warrant for searches and seizures, there are situations where the law makes an exception for them. Such exceptions include:

• Probable cause – Suppose you have an illegal item in your car or your yard, and it is in plain view. If the police officer can actually see it, then they can conduct a search.
• Hot pursuit – If you commit a major crime and try to escape or if the police feel like you could cause harm to others or yourself, they have the right to follow you and invade your privacy without a warrant.
• Consent – Police officers can search your car, home, or other belongings if you voluntarily allow them to do so without probable cause or a warrant.

If you have ever been in a situation where you feel like a police officer violated your Fourth Amendment right, you may want to ask an attorney about your options for seeking justice. The legal system can be quite complicated, so if you don’t know how it works, someone can take advantage of you.