Situations where Warrantless Searches Are Permissible

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Warrantless Searches The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right of the people "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." ("Fourth Amendment") In order to avoid an illegal search or seizure, the police must first obtain a search warrant "upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." ("Fourth Amendment") Despite these fundamental principles, the courts have been forced to recognize that there are times when a search or seizure is appropriate without a warrant. Because they are, by definition, an infringement upon the privacy of a citizen, official searches and seizures can take place only by government employee or agent of the government. When there is a violation of this rule, the courts have determined that any evidence gathered by the government, but which is found to have been gathered in a manner in violation of the Fourth Amendment, is ordinarily excluded from trial in what is known as the "Exclusionary Rule." (Mapp v. Ohio) There are, however, times when warrantless searches are conducted and evidence gathered is allowed to be used a trial. Firstly there is the plain view doctrine which states that police do not need a warrant to take possession of illegal property if it is in the plain view of the officer. After a person has been placed under arrest, the
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