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Fourth Amendment Exceptions Summary Essay

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The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that no search or seizure shall be carried out unless a warrant has been issued. The exceptions are: searches with consent, frisks, plain feel/plain view, incident to arrest, automobile exceptions, exigent circumstances and open fields, abandoned property and public place exceptions (Harr, Hess, 2006, p. 219). Consent to search any property must be given by t actual owners or, as set forth in the United States v Matlock (1974) by a person in charge of that property.

If, for instance more than one person owns a property, only one of those individuals must give consent. There are exceptions to that rule as well. Only commonly shared areas of that property may be searched (Harr,Hess, 2006). Take for instance a family living in an apartment which comprises of a husband, wife and sister to the man. The sister would give consent for common areas, such as the living room, den, kitchen, and bathroom, to be searched and she cannot give consent to allowing the bedroom of the brother and sister in-law to be searched.

The husband, on the other hand, could consent to having the bedroom searched because it is there joint bedroom and is not off-limits to him. Other conditions on the searches incident to arrest exception include the use of force, the search of other individuals with the arrested individual, searching the vehicle of an arrest person, contemporaneousness and inventory searches “if a government agent has probable cause to believe the vehicle contains contraband or evidence of a crime without a warrant” because “in the time it would take to get a warrant, the car, driver and contraband or evidence could be long gone” (Harr, Hess, 2006. p. 231). The 1981 case of Robbins v. California saw the justifications for searching without a warrant. Those specifications include that the mobility of vehicles produce exigent circumstances.

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