SPELLMAN LAW, P.C.
Based In West Des Moines, Iowa, Practicing In Central
Iowa And Throughout The State Of Iowa

Quick Action And Honest Advice

Protect yourself from illegal searches and seizures in Iowa

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | Illegal Search And Seizure |

Knowing when law enforcement can legally search and test you is important to protect yourself. If you give consent, then this usually means that the evidence will hold up in court. The fourth amendment of the US Constitution is what guarantees your right to unreasonable searches. Some law enforcement officers, however, will still try tricking you into consenting.

Ask to see their search warrant

When law enforcement attempts to search you, always ask to see the warrant first. If they have neither a warrant nor probable cause, then you can politely let them know that they need a warrant. Don’t allow them to pressure or guilt you into an unlawful search.

Don’t consent, but don’t fight either

Sometimes, law enforcement does the wrong thing and will forcefully search you, even after you declined consent. Although you are in the right to enforce your constitutional rights, you shouldn’t put your life at risk. You will be able to seek justice later after contacting your attorney and showing the court that it was an unlawful search because you didn’t give consent.

Probable cause

Law enforcement doesn’t need your consent for search and seizure when they have probable cause. Evidence of a crime gives law enforcement permission to search the area where the evidence is.

Exception for schools

Schools don’t need a search warrant to search students. There are, however, limitations on what can happen during these searches to protect students. Only an adult of the same sex can conduct the search. Iowa doesn’t allow strip searches, body cavity searches or trained drug-detection dogs to sniff a student. Lockers, desks and other school property are not property of the student, so the school can search these areas at any point for any reason. Staff can only search a cell phone if they happen to see something inappropriate on it while walking by.

The fourth amendment of the US constitution protects you from unreasonable searches. Unless law enforcement has probable cause or a search warrant based on probable cause, they can’t legally search you or your property.

FindLaw Network
Sean P. Spellman
Mary K. “Molly” Spellman