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Amendment Analysis: Search and Seizure

The fourth amendment to the American constitution stipulates that individuals are protected from searches and seizures that are unreasonable. The enforcement authority is only allowed to conduct unjustified searches like searching the outer clothing under the speculation that the suspect is armed and dangerous (Frederickson, Hurd, Pinnick, and Sinning, 2019). This search gets done further when there is doubt that individuals possess a weapon in their inner garment. The investigation is then warranted since the officer believes that their life is in danger and fears their safety. When officers have no reason to conduct any search, going further violates the individual’s rights.

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The main elements of the search and seizure amendments are protecting people against unreasonable searches and seizures and warrants only issued upon probable cause and affirmation (Fitzpatrick, 2015). These two elements protect citizens from unnecessary and unjustified searches by the authority. The first element shows that individuals have the right to stay secure and accessible without the officers’ interference. Additionally, citizens can sue officers for invading their places and conducting unlawful searches. Through the second element, searches and seizure warrants are only allowed when there is justifiable cause for doing so (Fitzpatrick, 2015). The authority must provide reasons to warrant a search on a specific individual.

The founding fathers included a provision in the bill of rights of search and Seizures to protect citizens from the intrusion of authority (“Constitution and Supreme Court,” 1999). The bill of rights focuses on the personal liberty and safety of people in a nation. An individual’s home is considered a safe and secure place. Thereby, intrusion and unjustifiable searches serve as a violation of privacy and security. Through having a warrant, the authority gets to focus on an individual suspect rather than a whole population. Through the provision, the founding fathers got to limit the powers of the administration or government and could therefore not disregard the citizens’ rights (“Constitution and Supreme Court,” 1999). This step made it possible for citizens to report any official who violated their privacy rights. Additionally, the search and seizure amendment keeps people from the oppression of a given authority.

There are checkpoints where search and seizure can occur without a given warrant. However, there should be valid reasons that necessitate such investigations. For instance, when the officer or authority in charge feels insecure, they can conduct searches on the suspect. Such cases include when an officer doubts that the person has a weapon or any item capable of placing them in danger (Frederickson et al., 2019). Additionally, resistance to comply with the commands given and furtive movements may imply armed suspects, necessitating a search. Officers required to conduct arrests are also allowed to conduct searches since there is the belief that the suspect has done some wrongful acts.

The checkpoints should be considered legal since the provisions given show the need for a search and seizure. Citizens are protected against wrongful and unjustifiable searches, but when there is probable cause, the authority has the power to conduct them. Since warrants may not be present when an officer arrests a suspect, it is legal that they conduct searches in case they feel threatened by the individual. Additionally, in points where a given suspect disobeys the command given, like identifying themselves, the authority must search if they feel unsafe. Instances with furtive movements that tend to put the life of an officer in danger could necessitate a search for one to protect themselves. Therefore, these checkpoints must be legal since they have valid reasons for the need for a search and seizure.


Fitzpatrick, C. (2015). Protecting the Fourth Amendment so we do not sacrifice freedom for security. Wisconsin Law Review, 1. Web.

Frederickson, Hurd, Pinnick, and Sinning. (2019). North Dakota Supreme Court Review. Web.

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The Constitution and Supreme Court. (1999). Web.

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