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Probable Cause

Understanding Fourth Amendment Seizure

Can it be a seizure when a person isn’t “seized?”

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Asheville, NC, Police Must Obtain Written Permission to Conduct Vehicle Searches

Chief Hooper and law enforcement advocates said the changes would make it harder for officers to protect the public and would hamper them in combating a historic drug epidemic and the crimes that come with it.

Community Caretaking Searches

Few of the safeguards granted to individuals in the United States under the Bill of Rights are more vociferously defended than the Fourth Amendment guaranteeing protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is especially the case where the entry of private residences is concerned.

Reasonable Suspicion

In some cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that particular searches and seizures need only "reasonable suspicion" to be constitutional—not the higher justification level of probable cause. What's the difference, and when is reasonable suspicion sufficient?

Video: Texas Troopers Sued Over Roadside Cavity Search

Two female motorists are suing two Texas troopers and the director of the Department of Public Safety, after they were given a full body cavity search along the roadside.

The Independent Source Doctrine

Although some searches and seizures may only be justifiable under a single approach, many can be justified several different ways. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that when this is the case, any independent source of contested evidence will suffice, even when another does not.

Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Some actions you take have been classified by Supreme Court decisions as requiring that you articulate a "reasonable suspicion" in order to make them constitutionally reasonable, while others can be undertaken only if there is "probable cause" ("PC"). But what do these terms mean? And how do you match the right level of justification with the kind of conduct you're seeking to justify?

Investigative Traffic Stops

Most traffic stops are routine. You see a moving or equipment violation, make the stop, and issue a citation or warning. Everything’s over in 10 minutes or so.

The Waiting Game

In some cases, it’s necessary to take a suspect into custody as soon as you conclude that probable cause exists. But in other cases, making the arrest too quickly might not be advisable. Making an arrest triggers certain constitutional tests and starts the clock running on steps that have to be taken within specified times. Control and safety permitting, it may be best to delay making an arrest until the last practical moment.

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