4th Amendment Rights

Arrest Warrant Requirements

To be arrested, Police generally need to have an arrest warrant to do that. One of the biggest requirements to obtain an arrest warrant is, they must have probable cause. To show probable cause they must prove 2 things:

  • 1. A crime has occurred. is being committed, or about to be committed.
  • And
  • 2. The person arrested is/was/did commit the crime.

The exact technical procedures I am going to talk about are in Pennsylvania. Depending on where you live they could be a little different.

Requirements for the Arrest Warrant:

  1. It must be signed by a neutral Judge
  2. An affidavit(sworn statement) must be signed by the police. This will include specific facts.
  3. The name of the person to be arrested. Police must have the person’s name on a warrant.

If you are to be arrested in your home, the police need a warrant.

Exceptions to having an arrest warrant:

Exigent Circumstances- Where an officers need to take immediate action to arrest.


Exception’s to the 4th Amendment: Part 2


This is part 2 of a 2 part series in Exceptions to the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution.

If you did not check out my part1  post, please feel free to do so. This second part will contain information on abandoned property and private party, like farms and patio’s. An exception to constitution say’s if you intentionally abandon your property, it is fair game for anyone, including the POLICE. Now if you were to lay something down for a few minutes with the intention of coming back to it, that would not apply here. A popular example is when you put your trash out for the garbage collectors. Usually, the garbage is technically just off your property and you have abandoned, by placing it there, never expecting to see it again. Most, people would believe you have lost your expectation to privacy by doing that. So, now anyone can look through your trash.

Another exception is something called the Open Fields Doctrine. This rule talks about farms, patios, and garages that may or may not be attached to a home. Because anyone could walk onto these premises people loose their expectation of privacy here. So if you have marijuana on your porch, in plain view the police do not need a warrant.

Scope of a Traffic Stop


When you are pulled over by the police many things thoughts might occur thru one’s head. One might be “what to do at a traffic stop”? While I can’t exactly answer that, I can tell you what police officers are allowed to do and for about how long they are allowed do it. In Pennsylvania, the police are allowed by law to order the driver and any passengers out of the for just “police officer safety”. The Supreme court allows this because the police need to be protected to effectively do their job. What separates the driver and any passengers is the type of police interactions. If you recall my first blog on searches and seizures I talked about the 3 different types of interactions. In a traffic stop the driver is under a “investigatory detention”. While the passengers are considered under a ” mere encounter”. This is that way because with the driver the police have “reasonable and articulate facts to believe criminal activity is afoot”. Even though it is just a motor vehicle violation, it is still technically a crime. While the passenger has committed no crime and technically could walk away after being frisked for weapons. The driver can only be detained ” for as long as reasonably necessary for the police to complete their investigation; usually 20 minutes”. This is just a normal scenario, if passenger behaviors change, then this scenario would.

So that is a brief explanation on the scope of traffic stops.

Exceptions to the 4th Amendment; United States Constitution

The 4th amendment, which protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures does have a few exceptions.  These are things seen in:


1. Public Places

2. In Plain View

3. Open fields ( like farms, patios, and garages.

4. Abandoned Property.


For this blog post I’m going to talk about the first two, the other two will be in a later post.


If a criminal act or evidence is seen in a public place, the police do not need a warrant. This is because citizens don’t have an expectation of privacy in parks and other public settings.


When it comes to plain view officer’s must be at a legal vantage point. By that I mean they must be there legally. They also must use ordinary senses. This means no special camera’s, smelling devices, possibly dogs, things like that. If they don’t see it or smell it  is not there, legally.