Lawful Search, Seizure, and Arrest
The Fourth Amendment protects American citizens from unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment requires a law enforcement officer to produce a valid warrant gained as a result of the attainment of the required threshold for probable cause. The use of the Fourth Amendment also applies in the case of search, seizure, and arrest of individuals in a vehicle during a traffic stop. The application of the Fourth Amendment during a traffic stop faces challenges arising from a Supreme Court ruling that stated that the Fourth Amendment rights o a person in a vehicle might be suspended if the vehicle the individual is boarding at the time of the search is not within the individual’s residence. During a traffic stop, the individual(s) in the vehicle enjoy fourth amendment rights that state that a probable cause and a warrant should accompany their search and the search of the vehicle they were boarding.
Profiling is essential in the attainment of meaningful work by law enforcement officers. Profiling can either occur in a legal manner that adheres to all regulations and guidelines laid by the law (legal/criminal profiling) or based on the color or ethnicity of the person with disregard to the individual’s role in criminal activity at the time of arrests (racial profiling). The main difference between the two types of profiling is adherence to the rule of law and respect to the suspect’s constitutional rights. Criminal profiling is essential in solving crimes and arresting culpable individuals. On the other hand, racial profiling cannot be used to obtain justice, and in fact, it is a violation of the individual’s rights and hence the constitution.
Pretextual traffic stops are scenarios where the police stop, search and arrest individuals in a transiting vehicle by flagging them down under a different reason with the ultimate aim of searching the vehicle or individuals in the vehicle for illegal substances or criminal activity. In the Whren et al. v United States, the Supreme Court held that temporary detention of a person driving a vehicle, supported by a probable cause, is not a violation of the individuals Fourth Amendment rights as long as the officers did not stop the vehicle in the absence of additional legal objectives. This means that there is no violation of the motorist’s Fourth Amendment rights if the arresting officer reasonably suspects a violation of traffic laws has occurred. While deciphering the US Supreme Court ruling, it is also essential to understand reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Probable cause is defined as any probable reason that any reasonable individual will perceive as acts of committing a crime or resulting in a crime or would lead to a crime. On the other hand, reasonable suspicion is guided by common sense such that an individual believes that from what they have witnessed, a crime will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed. The arrest of individuals thought or established to have been involved in a crime is based on the amount of evidence gathered against the suspect. A person cannot be arrested based on a reasonable suspicion but can be arrested on probable cause grounds. Although the law does not allow individuals to be arrested under reasonable suspicion, it allows for the detaining of individuals. The amount of time one is detained under reasonable suspicion is dependent on the weight of the must, but it should not exceed 24 hours.
A plain feel doctrine gives law enforcement officers the liberty to seize objects during a legal and legitimate pat-down search if the officers by plain feel they reasonably believe the possessions of the individual to be illegal. There are several situations when police officers can search a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. Some of these exceptional situations include when there is a probable cause if the officer believes that the search is necessary for their safety and that of the public, and when an individual has already been arrested, and the warrant for the search covers the particular vehicle.
The duties of a police officer are well delivered if the officer performs them with strict adherence to the ethical, moral, and professional codes provided in work. Police officers must report all individuals involved in wrongdoing, such as racial profiling. In fulfilling my duties as a police officer, I will report any officer involved in racial profiling leading to harassment of innocent citizens.
Lawful Search, Seizure, and Arrest