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Search and Seizure

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According to, search and seizure is defined as an examination of a person’s premises (residence, business, or vehicle) by law enforcement officers looking for evidence of the commission of a crime, and taking (seizure and removal) of articles of evidence. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens and criminal suspects from unreasonable searches of their persons and property, and prohibits police officers from making unlawful arrests/seizures.

The Fourth Amendment holds the laws and court decision foundation for the regulation of police-citizen encounters. A police officer can search and seize a person or property if they have a search warrant, arrest warrant, or “probable cause” that a crime was committed. Not all encounters with law enforcement involve a search and seizure. There are three types of law enforcement encounters as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court- consensual encounter, detentions, and arrest.

Types of Law Enforcement Encounters

Consensual Encounter: This is the most frequently used encounter and is often referred to as a voluntary encounter. There does not have to be any evidence of a crime to have a consensual encounter and can be ended by either party at any time. The consensual encounter is not considered a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment.

Detentions: This encounter is also referred to as a Terry stop. Law enforcement can detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that they are involved in a crime. This stop must be supported by facts and observations, not just a hunch. The detainee is not allowed to leave when being detained briefly to conduct an investigation.

Arrest: This encounter must be supported by probable cause. After an arrest, law enforcement can search the person, their belongings, and their immediate surroundings.

Experienced Search and Seizure Lawyers in Georgia

Consult an experienced attorney to protect your rights and better understand the legalities with search and seizure. M. Qader A. Baig & Associates, LLC can review your case and determine the right course of action. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Posted on behalf of M. Qader A. Baig & Associates, LLC Attorneys and Counselors at Law

913 Commercial Street
Conyers, GA 30012

Phone: (770) 929-1665

FAX: (770) 929-1197


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