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Search & Seizure

Reasonable v. Unreasonable Search?

In the last blog post we discussed the basics of the 4th Amendment which governs searches and seizures. To recap, the 4th Amendment protects US citizens from an unlawful search or seizure completed by a governmental agent or agency.

There are three crucial questions to ask when taking the 4th Amendment under consideration:

  1. Is the 4th Amendment applicable?
  2. If yes, was it an unreasonable search?
  3. Has the 4th Amendment been satisfied?


In Florida v. Jardine (2013), police took a drug dog to the defendant’s front porch, where the dog alerted to traces of drugs found on the property. The police then went to acquire a search warrant to search the house for drugs, where they found growing marijuana plants. This was found to be an unlawful search and seizure because the drug dog was viewed as a forensic tool while searching the “curtilage” of the home without probable cause and warrant. The curtilage is known as the area surrounding the home to which the activity of the home extends.

The Supreme Court announced that the 4th Amendment can be violated in two ways:

  1. By police physically intruding onto someone’s property without license to do so to conduct a search.
  2. By police violating a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy under the Katz analysis, which is a test used to determine the privacy a US citizen expects in certain locations. The individual must have exhibited a subjective expectation of privacy and the expectation much be one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.

St.Louis, Missouri Search & Seizure Lawyer

If you or a loved one feels they have been subjected to an unlawful search and seizure, our attorneys are here to help. Call Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. to schedule a free consultation 24/7.