top of page
  • Writer's pictureNilima

What is unreasonable search and seizure?

There are several terms in law that the general public might not be familiar with; it is not anyone's fault that people take interest in what adds value to their lives. An ordinary man could only think of a lawyer like the one whose job is always about when there is trouble to fuel or quench. However, lawyers deal in troubles and make sure that it does not come up in the first place. You might have heard about the unreasonable search and seizure or read about it in several articles, and it is our duty to break it down in this read in case you are finding your way around it.

If you are conversant with how law enforcers are carrying out searches or have ever read any article about unreasonable search and seizure, you would think that talking about the fourth amendment cannot be an option.

Understanding the terms

The simple definition of an unreasonable can be well stated as a search and seizure carried out by an officer of the law or, better put, an enforcement officer recognized by the direction of the land. It is considered an unreasonable search and seizure when done without a search warrant and a probable cause to have the conviction that there could be evidence or proof of a crime.

The best way to explain an unreasonable search and seizure so that an average citizen could have an idea is by sharing a snippet from the fundamental rights, especially in a country like the United States of America. Americans should be aware of their fundamental rights, and the same applies to every other citizen of different nationalities. You would agree that the rights of a citizen would not be the same with immigrants living in the same country. One must take time to understand the fundamental rights and exceptions to the law so that one does not fight outside one's fundamental rights.

How relevant is the Fourth amendment?

While you can count on the fourth amendment in a country like the United States, it is vital that you read between the lines and digest an individual's right against an unreasonable search and seizure. Some rights protect the existence of persons, their properties against unnecessary or unreasonable searches and seizures. It is usually described as an unreasonable search and seizure due to the fact that it often comes with no written search warrant that has been pre-signed by the appropriate authority. However, there are situations that you might face reasonable searches and seizures even without a warrant. Regardless of whether an investigation is reasonable or not, it is always dependent on your right to expect privacy. Do you expect privacy in the situation that the law enforcement meets you or not?


Truth be told, you can only benefit from the Fourth Amendment that you shall not be searched for any reason if you truly have a right to expect privacy. Having the right to expect privacy shall be considered if there is a reason to believe that it is convincingly legitimate. One of the things to bear in mind is that the right to search you, whether there is a warrant or not, is whether you expect that you have the right to consider a specific entity as private. A law enforcement officer does not need a formal document known as a warrant to conduct any search on what almost everybody believesis not private. From what is clear, if everyone considers that an entity is not private, then the right to search and seize does not need to be reasonable or not before a law enforcement officer can conduct any search.

There has to be a consensus that what is on the verge of being searched is expected to be private. There are different ways to this; it is either that as an individual, you can demonstrate that the right to privacy should not be tampered, with convincing reasons. For example, this might fly when another person considers the entity in question not worthy of privacy.


The truth is that while the fourth amendment might have been protecting citizens from getting away with unreasonable search and seizures, there is always a provision that reasonableness might not even need to be a factor to be considered if the entity or property to be searched is not considered as the one that should have right to privacy or an expectation.

There have been arguments from debatable facts that some properties might be considered private, or an individual could expect that the right to privacy holds, but the truth is that you would not want to go out with what is unlawful in your car. That's if you consider your vehicle as to where you should demand the right to privacy. However, a man's home would be regarded in an entirely different manner.

35 views0 comments
bottom of page