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Questions tagged [search-and-seizure]

For questions regarding legally authorized search and seizure of private property

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24 votes
4 answers
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Can a US citizen be required to provide the authentication key for encrypted data on a confiscated computer?

I'm asking this for the sake of a story I was considering writing. Assume that someone has a computer, and within that computer he has some encrypted data. He is accused of a crime and the police ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 8,500
13 votes
2 answers
898 views

How exactly does civil asset forfeiture work in the United States?

Civil asset forfeiture is a concept that frequently crops up in the news, e.g. the recent Washington Post article "Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut". ...
user516's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are there any remedies for abusive or insulting behavior by agents executing a search warrant?

Suppose I am a particular person who maintains a clean and orderly residence. I have a sign inside my front door asking visitors to put booties over their shoes before entry. Now some LEOs show up ...
feetwet's user avatar
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33 votes
6 answers
14k views

Can I booby-trap my property against police?

Inspired by this question: Suppose I'm paranoid (perhaps justifiably) that law enforcement personnel might conduct a warranted raid of my property. So I setup booby-traps that are designed to either: ...
feetwet's user avatar
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41 votes
2 answers
7k views

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

I understand that if the police perform an illegal search, then any evidence found during that search will be excluded from a trial, but what if they didn't find any evidence? If the police do an ...
Sam I am says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
19k views

Can a store detective search my bag without my consent?

If I am approached by a store detective and accused of stealing something can they search my bag without my consent? Or putting this another way, can I insist that any search be done by the police and ...
John Rennie's user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
10k views

Consent to searches: Who wins "my-word-against-yours?"

Hypothetical Officer testifies citizen consented to be searched. Citizen denies consenting to be searched. There is no other evidence (that weighs net in favor of either party). Question Whom ...
Alexanne Senger's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there any remedy for unnecessary insult by police in the course of their lawful duties?

Following up on Are there any remedies for abusive or insulting behavior by agents executing a search warrant? the more subtle question needs the following elaboration: My impression is that as far ...
feetwet's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why hasn't civil asset forfeiture been ruled unconstitutional?

If news articles like this and this are accurate, then U.S. law enforcement can confiscate private property, including cash, without convicting someone of a crime – or even charging them – under a ...
anotherguy's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
10k views

Does handing keys to police under duress constitute consent to search?

Suppose a police officer demands, through a closed window, to search your car or dwelling. Knowing your rights you say, "I do not consent to a search." The officer then declares, "I don't care ...
feetwet's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
701 views

Who can give the police consent to search my property?

If the police want to obtain consent to perform a search of a property, who do they have to obtain it from? Can my friend who doesn't legally own the house, or pay rent, but is just staying with me ...
waterguy13's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

The 4th Amendment and case law relevant to police power for arrests without a warrant

The 4th Amendment states that The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
253 views

Are there standards for detention of property in connection with a search warrant?

We know that police and government are not liable for damage caused in the course of warranted searches. We also know that people who are not suspected of any crime can have their property searched ...
feetwet's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are search warrants public records?

Are search warrants public records? Does it matter whether an investigation ended up resulting in a prosecution? If so, does it matter whether the case goes to trial? If so, does it matter whether the ...
Dr. Mario's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
654 views

How will credit card purchases NOT fall under the guidlines of the new Supreme Court ruling?

The intent of this new ruling by the Supreme Court is for anonymous networks but, when doing forensics on a wire in such a manner as to present to a judge, you can't tell what's inside those packets. ...
user5503's user avatar
32 votes
3 answers
12k views

Ordered to unlock my car trunk. May I lawfully refuse?

Consider the hypothetical situation where I am stopped by a patrol officer. After handing over the required documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance), he orders me to ...
EvilSnack's user avatar
  • 629
27 votes
7 answers
9k views

Can I tell police to wait and call a lawyer when served with a search warrant?

Somewhat influenced by this question. This is hypothetical question. Suppose the police turn up at my door with a search warrant. I know nothing about warrants and couldn't tell apart a search warrant ...
Aleks G's user avatar
  • 393
26 votes
2 answers
9k views

What does a search warrant actually look like? How can I recognize one?

Suppose the police come to my door. “Open up,” they say. “We have a warrant to search the premises.” How can I tell if they are telling the truth? Do they show me the warrant? If they do, how do I ...
Mark Dominus's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

In the United States, when can someone legally search my personal laptop? (Government or private security)

Unlike the United Kingdom, U.S. citizens don't have an explicit right to privacy in the Constitution. Although there are implied privacy rights within "penumbras" of the Bill of Rights this has ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
5k views

If roommate steals, can police search other people's rooms too (US)?

I was speaking with my friend, who sounded real nervous, saying she thinks her roommate might be stealing from work. It's been going on for a few weeks and she can't tell for sure, because her ...
Ray Salian's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

If police get a search warrant, does it have any limitations? Must the person turn over all passwords?

I'm not sure how to phrase this question and I guess it depends on circumstances. Say the police suspect you of building a bomb and a judge issues a warrant. To what extent can they search you and ...
JakeP's user avatar
  • 327
7 votes
2 answers
829 views

Is perimeter search without a warrant ever legal?

Are perimeter searches without consent nor warrant ever legal? What if it's a motor vehicle / car? Is the situation different with a house?
cnst's user avatar
  • 5,068
6 votes
2 answers
986 views

Search Warrant Verification

In Los Angeles, California, if apparent police show up at my door with an apparent search warrant in their hands at 3am, how can I independently verify this? I don't want to be tricked into opening ...
bobuhito's user avatar
  • 1,001
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can the police seize your phone without a warrant UK?

This question relates to the seizure of a mobile phone (cell phone) in the United Kingdom, focusing on England and Wales which has a different system to Scotland. If the police arrest someone over a ...
questioner's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
643 views

Under what circumstances are you required to stop and/or answer questions by the police?

After this case of suspected harassment by the police in England in response to refusal to provide a name while walking to catch a train I wondered when you are required to stop, and when you are ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 373
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Evidence found during police search of incorrect address listed on search warrant

A warehouse is a single structure with several divided units separated by concrete walls. These units have different sequential addresses; 1000 Fake St (unit A) 1001 Fake St (unit B) 1002 Fake St (...
Digital fire's user avatar
  • 5,489
5 votes
3 answers
232 views

How is it possible to be on the wrong end of civil forfeiture while not engaging in criminal activity?

How is it possible to be on the wrong end of civil forfeiture while not engaging in criminal activity? I'd like to understand this because, tools that victimize or even put the public at risk seem ...
gatorback's user avatar
  • 7,159
5 votes
1 answer
406 views

Must the State compensate individuals from whom property is seized as evidence?

Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers routinely obtain warrants under a "probable cause" standard to seize items that may contain evidence of a crime. This is a taking of private ...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 21.8k
3 votes
4 answers
244 views

Search warrants for the property of people not suspected of a crime

I'm interested in the New York City jurisdiction. Imagine a person is involved, or suspected to be involved, in a crime, yet they are not suspected of having committed any crime. For example, imagine ...
user110391's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
391 views

In the US are you allowed to refuse a mobile breathalyzer test?

If you are stopped by the police in the US are you allowed to refuse any test to prove your sobriety? I know you have to tell the police your name, provide them with identification, insurance, and ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 5,017
2 votes
1 answer
205 views

Search warrant against third party

On a TV program, they described a case in the USA where a man went missing, presumed murdered; four years later the police was told that he might be buried in his garden, the home had meanwhile be ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.3k
1 vote
2 answers
151 views

Sovereign immunity and recovering seized property

Can sovereign immunity defeat an attempt to recover seized property? For instance, if a cop seizes some cash asserting that it is "drug money", and the owner sues to recover it, can the ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
119 views

Does the source of DNA have a bearing on the legality of a search?

If you give your DNA to one of those Geanology sites could law enforcement try and subpoena that DNA to use against you if they don't have probable cause for a warrant for your DNA or would the issue ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 5,017
0 votes
2 answers
184 views

Is there any law (US, UK, or Canadian) that limits the scope of a search, so that unrelated crimes can't be prosecuted?

Are search warrants limited to evidence for a specific crime? For example, assume a search warrant is issued based on probable cause of property theft. While executing this search warrant, the police ...
makerofthings7's user avatar