Being stopped by law enforcement and going through a search and seizure can be a scary experience for anyone, especially for those who have not dealt with the police before. However, when someone knows what the process entails, it can help them feel more comfortable if and when they encounter a search and seizure situation.
Here are three things to know about search and seizure in Alabama.
1. The definition of search and seizure
On its most basic level, search and seizure is exactly what the name entails. A member of law enforcement goes through an individual’s belongings if they have reason to believe they hold evidence of a crime. The seizure comes into play if an officer confiscates items during the search that they believe they could use as evidence for the crime in question. Not all searches involve the seizure of property.
2. What constitutes an illegal search and seizure
Sometimes, searches of persons and property are illegal, even when performed by qualified members of law enforcement. An example of this includes an officer failing to obtain the proper search warrant prior to searching a home or vehicle.
3. When they might encounter justified search and seizure
Law enforcement generally must justify any searches and confiscation of property that they perform. Justification usually comes in the form of a court order after an officer and judge determine that there is probable cause that a search might reveal valuable evidence.
The more that members of the public know about search and seizure, the better they can advocate for their rights when it comes to this action.