The general rule of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that no warrants shall issue by a Magistrate but upon a showing of probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and that describes with particularity the place be searched and the person or things to be seized. Mi



If an individual reasonably believed by an officer to have the authority to give consent to a search give that consent, then no warrant is required. The issue here is not whether the person has actual authority but whether the officer "reasonably believes" that they have the authority. Thus, if a suspect's girlfriend provides law enforcement a key to the suspect's residence, and the officer reasonably believes the girlfriend is a resident as well, then any search of the residence will not violate the Fourth Amendment. Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177 (1990).



The old rule, which no longer exists, permitted law enforcement the right to engage in a complete and thorough search of a person and their surroundings during or immediately after an arrest regardless of why the individual was arrested. As of 2009, the exception was limited to only permit a limited search of the person and their immediate surroundings for the purpose of locating dangerous weapons that may be had by the defendant, locating means of escape or protecting evidence that may be destroyed. The officer must demonstrate and actual and continuing threat to their safety that is posed by the individual arrested or a need to preserve evidence. Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332 (2009).



A warrant is not required to seize evidence that is in plain view. Plain view is defined as it sounds, which is that the evidence can easily be viewed without extraordinary efforts, devices, maneuvers, or techniques being implemented by a police officer. The only issue here is that law enforcement must first be legitimately and legally in the location whereby the evidence can be plainly viewed. For example, an officer is not permitted to illegally enter the home of a suspect and then seize the suspect for drugs in plain view on the coffee table. Officers may also not use binoculars or other devices to enhance their ability detect illegal activity or contraband that is not otherwise in plain view from their vantage point. For example, if a suspect is growing marijuana in their front window, with the blinds open, and an officer can easily see such plants from the sidewalk, then the marijuana is considered to be in plain view. However, if the officer is only able to detect the plants through binoculars or other enhancement devices, then the plants are not in plain view.



Law enforcement is permitted to stop a suspect for a short period of time providing they have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a criminal act is afoot. Reasonable and articulable suspicion is more than suspicion but less than probable cause for an arrest. Therefore, an individual may be stopped and subsequently frisked (if there is a reason to believe the person is armed and dangerous), but then not arrested unless there then probable cause for the arrest. For example, if a driver violates an element of the traffic code (failure to obey a traffic device), then they may be lawfully stopped. If during the stop, the officer believes they are in reasonable fear for their safety, then the individual may be frisked. If the officer reveals information or evidence that gives probable cause for arrest, then the individual and their property may then be seized.



The automobile exception was born out of the concern that because vehicles are highly mobile, evidence could be spoiled if the vehicle travels before the warrant is obtained. Carroll v. United States, 267 US. 132 (1925). This exception is applied to any vehicle, not just automobiles, and includes boats. One main limitation of this exception is that law enforcement may only search those areas where the type of evidence in question may be found. Meaning that if law enforcement suspects an individual is trafficking illegal automatic machine guns, then they should not be searching the glove box or arm rest. Furthermore, for this exception to apply, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime, the instrumentalities of a crime, or the fruits of a crime. Whether the vehicle is moving or already stopped is irrelevant.



When evidence that can be easily moved, destroyed or otherwise made to disappear before a warrant can be issued then the evidence or individual may be seized without a warrant, under the Hot Pursuit Exception. This includes a provision that permits law enforcement to follow suspects onto or into private property when being pursued. Thus if a suspect enters private property when being pursued, then the officers are not required to stop and obtain a warrant to enter the property, even if the suspect is in no way connected to the property y in question. Thus neither the suspect nor the property owner shall have standing to object.



When an emergency circumstance arises, such as a life threatening event, then a law enforcement officer is permitted to forcibly enter a property, without a search warrant, for the purpose of effecting a rescue of the person endangered. If during this process, criminal activity is observed in plain view, then a search warrant should not be required to effect a search and seizure as the Plaint View exception would apply.