Nashville Criminal Attorney Explains: The Fourth Amendment’s Application to an Arrest

What is the Fourth Amendment?

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What protections does it provide?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides all citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. For an arrest to be reasonable it must be based on probable cause and no warrant is required regardless of the crime, with some exceptions.

What does Probable Cause mean?

Probable cause means that there is a reasonable belief that 1) a crime has been committed and 2) that person suspected has committed the crime. It is a fairly subjective term, however the probable cause standard is intentionally low.

Aren’t the police required to have a warrant for my arrest?

Generally, no warrant is required however there must be a hearing within (typically) 48 hours or less with a judicial officer to determine probable cause has been found.  Most often, as is the case in Nashville, suspects are brought immediately to night court after the arrest for the probable cause determination.

These rights are constitutionally protected however there may be situations where your rights have been violated, intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless of the situation, the remedy for a violation of constitutional rights is the suppression of any evidence obtained as a result of or following the constitutional violation. You should always consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to discussing the case with police and certainly prior to accepting any plea offer.

If you have been arrested and charged with any criminal offense in Nashville or the Middle Tennessee area, contact our office today to discuss your case and any defenses you may have to the charges.

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