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In today’s society, we live amongst social media and video recordings trying to expose police officers and other government officials alike. In reality, what could help those issues would be to get educated on both sides of the law. What does it mean to have a search warrant? Are you allowed to be searched without a warrant? These are basic human rights that both a civilian and civil service worker should know which all relate back to criminal procedure.
When searching, “search and seizure” into the United States Code, there were a ton of things that turned up, but one stuck out – an article titled, “16 USC 706: Arrests; search warrants”. Now, I have seen countless videos on YouTube of people screaming that police are unlawfully searching them without their permission, I’m sure we all have, but I’ve always wondered who was in the wrong. Was it really the civil service workers fault? Were those people right?
This article states that the only way someone is allowed to be searched, and therefore arrested, without a warrant is if a police officer visually sees a crime being committed. This makes perfect sense – for example, prostitution. If a police officer pulls up to a prostitute and they offer that officer services, there is no reason for the officer to get a warrant. The prostitute has already committed the crime, which the officer has witnessed first hand. It goes on to state, then, that an officer can search anyone and anything IF they have a search warrant which can be obtained from the judge. But what happens when a person still doesn’t want to be searched?
That lead me to the joint article titled, “18 USC 2231: Assault or resistance”. It is a normal reaction, when a stranger enters your home, to be a bit taken aback. This article, however, talks about what happens when a legal search and seizure take place and a citizen resists and/or assaults an officer. When an officer has a warrant to search and/or seize some of your property, there is nothing you can do. Though, if you decide to take physical action against that officer, even using a deadly weapon, you could be imprisoned for up to ten years.
These are just glimpses into some of the United States Codes that make up our criminal procedure and our everyday laws. There is a whole process both parties have to go through when a suspected crime is committed. Not only are these codes in place to help police officers, but to protect a citizen from unlawful treatment. Criminal procedure is meant to help both parties and, hopefully, with a little bit of education, that message can be spread throughout the United States.
Worrall, J. L. (2015). Criminal Procedure: From First Contact To Appeal (5th ed.). Retrieved
August 26, 2017.
- 2231. Assault or resistance. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2017, from
- 706. Arrests; search warrants. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2017, from
http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=search and seizure&f=treesort&fq=true&num=18&hl=true&edition=prelim&granuleId=USC-prelim-title16-section706#sourcecredit