Police officers use search and seizure as a tool to ensure their safety, gather evidence, and arrest suspects. In police training, a search is defined as an examination of a hidden place, i.e. a person or their property, whose purpose is to find contraband (DOCJT, 2014, p. 10). A seizure is defined as the capture or arrest of a person or the confiscation of property (DOCJT, 2014, p. 10). Depending on the individual situation, a warrant may or may not be required to conduct searches and seizures. The exclusionary rule, which states that illegally seized evidence is inadmissible in court, has guided the definition of search and seizure, specifically as it pertains
The plain view doctrine is an exception to the search warrant requirements that allows police officers to seize evidence, without a search warrant, that they recognize as contraband or used in a criminal activity that is seen in plain view without having to enter the property or perform a search. In addition, a corollary to the plain sight doctrine is the plain smell doctrine, that allows if an officer smells evidence (e.g. marijuana), the officer meets the probable cause requirement to initiate a warrantless search (Lemons, n.d.). For example, an officer pulls over to assist a stranded motorist and observes in the front console of the vehicle a large bag of pills. This meets the probable cause requirement for the officer to perform a search of the vehicle.
There are many types of searches that the police may conduct warrantless, two include the search of a motor vehicle and frisk searches. A frisk search or when an officer is allowed to search outer clothing of a person for weapons (LaMance, 1999 - 2012) When a police officer frisk someone they can feel other elements that may arise suspicion, but the officer can legally search inside pocket if he feels a weapon, the only way a police officer can look elsewhere is if this is a search incidental to arrest also a person may give and officer permission to search. After that, if the agent finds something illegal, the search is then transformed into a legal research officer may lawfully arrest a person (LaMance, 1999-2012). Searching of a motor vehicle is another research that can be done without a warrant if the person they arrested was a recent occupant of the vehicle (LaMance, 1999-2012). The only thing that can be searched in this case is the interior of the vehicle and any containers that are inside the vehicle (LaMance, 1999-2012) Officers may perform a pat down of the driver and a defensive sweep of the space in the car adjacent to the car owner (LaMance, 1999-2012). If an officer believes they have enough probable cause to search the vehicle after it was towed and impounded except when less initial term research vehicles are still standing (Crime and Punishment, 1999). According to the Supreme Court "where there is cause to look for specific items sought, the
A police officer is dispatched to a call in his jurisdiction for a noise complaint. The police officer arrives hearing very loud music coming from the residence which violates a noise ordinance. The police officer knocks on the front door with no answer so he proceeds to the back door to knock when he observes what appears to be marijuana plants based on his training and experience. The police officer can seize the marijuana plants based on the Plain View Doctrine. “In Harris v. United States (1968), the Supreme Court ruled that anything a police officer sees in plain view, when the officer has a right to be where he or she is, is not the product of a search and is therefore admissible as evidence.”  The
Plain-view doctrine the rule permitting a police officer’s warrantless seizure and use as evidence of an item observed in plain view from a lawful position or during a legal search when the item is evidence of a crime.
4. Consent to search is an exception to the warrant; therefore the officer needs no justification to conduct a search pursuant to a valid consent. 5. Exigent circumstances is an exception to the warrant, it permits an officer to enter premises when there is a situation that requires immediate action. 6. Plain view doctrine is an exception to the warrant; it provides that an officer may seize an object without a warrant if the officer observes the object from the lawful vantage and if the nature of the object is immediately apparent as an article subject to seizure (Garland, 2011).
For example: Max is pulled over by a police officer who saw his car weaving on the roadway. The officer asks Max for his drivers’ license, and notices a strong smell of marijuana coming through the open window. Having asked Max to get out of the car, the officer then notices both a strong smell of alcohol on Max’s breath, and tiny green flakes on his shirt. The officer detains Max based on a reasonable suspicion that Max is under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
In the Plain View Doctrine, it is legal that when attempting a search for another means, a public official can seize other evidence that may not be accompanied with that crime as the findings are of criminal activity. Even though, a police officer may have already secured a warrant but have specified what their findings will be in detail, there are still loopholes even within their statement, Horton v. California. Therefore, even when inadvertently seizing the evidence, it is still confined as validified evidence due to the officer’s lawful right to seize something even if there is no warrant. In general, even with the exceptions to the requirement of warrantless searches, there has to always be a general rule that even the cases above me have to inquire within their proposed holding of the case and its circumstances. Most searches and seizures, warrantless or not, are
The following exceptions do not require probable cause: stop and frisk, incident to arrest, consent, inventory and administrative searches. The most common exception patrol officers encounter in the field is the stop and frisk also commonly known as
The officer did have reasonable suspicion to make contact and after locating the weapons he had his probable cause. There are four situations that Probable Cause is used; involving arrests with a warrant, arrests without a warrant, searched of items with a warrant, and searches of items without a warrant (V., D. C., & Walker, J. T., 2015). Most of my encounters with individuals occurs on traffic stops; which require probable cause to stop them. My probable cause could be speeding, reckless driving or any traffic violation in the traffic law manual. Once probable cause is established then contact is made with the driver. If there is reason to believe that there is more than a traffic violation, such as an officer smelling marijuana inside the vehicle, then he or she can now have access into the vehicle. My probable cause to get into the vehicle is based on my training and experience that there was or is illegal narcotics inside the vehicle. If there is no probable cause to get into the vehicle and an officer feels there is more to the traffic stop than speeding, then the officer needs to build his reasonable suspicion to figure out what the driver is up to. For example, one night on patrol, it was believed that there was a possible drug transaction going on in the
In the court case United States v. Ludwig the police took a narcotics dog through a parking lot in hopes that he would find the scent of drugs (www.loompanatics.com). Since a motorized vehicle has the ability to be driven far away and evidence can be removed, police believe that under certain circumstances they can search a car without a warrant. A dog alerted the cops by letting them know he smelled the scent of narcotics. They asked the suspect if they can search his truck. The suspect didn’t give them consent he was against the search but they still took the keys from him to search the truck. They found drugs in his trunk and a couple of large bags of marijuana. The police didn’t have a warrant nor did they have permission from the suspect to search his truck. The Supreme Court first ruled that it was unlawful to search his car without a warrant and no legit reasoning for the search. Then the court ruled that it was lawful because the officers said that the dog alerting them, were their reasoning for a warrantless search. The cops also stated in court that the reason they took the suspect’s keys is because if they have didn’t, there was a possibility that he could drive off and get rid off the drugs which would be their loss of evidence. This case shows how citizens have certain rights when it comes to their vehicles but they can still be ‘violated” in a sense.
(Nolo)” Several police officers tend to abuse their authority to attain evidence out of their reach. They often abuse their power because they know that the average citizen does not know their rights. Consent is a huge factor when it comes to determining if a search is lawful or not. The trial case of Arizona vs. Evans also determined that “the rule is not triggered when courthouse errors lead police officers to mistakenly believe that they have a valid search warrant, because excluding the evidence would not deter police officers from violating the law in the future. (Greenhalgh)”
Reasonable suspicion occurs when an equitable law enforcement officer possessing a belief or intuition of the possibility of a crime being committed, stops an alleged suspect, conducts a brief investigation and “pats” them down if it is believed the detainee possess a weapon. Reasonable suspicion became relevant in 1968, during the paramount case of Terry v. Ohio. An officer observed several people, Terry included, behaving in a suspicious manner in front of a store giving the officer reasonable suspicion to confront the suspects and conduct a brief pat down, whereas it was found that Terry had in his possession a firearm. This made the officer’s reasonable suspicion plausible, ruled by the Supreme Court, (Terry v. Ohio, 1968). Thus, this lead reasonable suspicion to probable cause to the arrest of Terry and his fellow accomplices.