While commonly discussed within the context of the requirements for a warrant, as within a Criminal Law context, the Fourth Amendment actually grants a variety of protections. It appears in full below:

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.

It boils down to the following:

  • Right to be secure in person
  • Right to be secure in house
  • Right to be secure in papers
  • Right to be secure in effects

against unreasonable searches and seizures. These rights apply whether you are in your home or not. If you are walking down the street, sitting on a bus, or inside a building, you retain these rights to be secure from unreasonable searches or seizures.

Additionally, no warrants shall be issued, unless they are supported by ALL of the following:

  • Probable cause;
  • Oath or affirmation supporting probable cause;
  • Particular description of the place to be searched;
  • Particular description of the people or things to be seized.

These are thus separable protections that Americans and people in America are constitutionally entitled to within our justice system.

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