Massillon DUI Attorney Explains your Legal Rights

One of the most sacred rights in America is the right to be free from unwarranted physical restraint. 1  The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution 2 guarantees this right. 3 It forbids all unreasonable searches and seizures and requires that all warrants be secured from a judge upon a finding of probable cause:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Despite the Fourth Amendment’s explicit warrant requirement, the United States Supreme Court has long recognized that not all seizures require a warrant. 4 The Court holds that the Fourth Amendment only prohibits unreasonable seizures, and has carved out exceptions to the warrant requirement if the seizure is deemed reasonable. 5 Judicial approval is still required, but it comes after the fact. 6 If the court finds that an unreasonable search and seizure was made, the court is required to suppress (throw out or exclude) any evidence obtained under the exclusionary rule. 7

Contact our Canton, Ohio DUI Lawyer to determine if the stop (seizure) in your case was unconstitutional.


  1. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 9 (1968) (“No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.” (quoting Union Pac. R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891)).
  2. U.S. Const. amend. IV, § 1
  3. State v. Farmer, 486 N.E.2d 238, 241 (Ohio App. 6 Dist. 1984) (“[T]he Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure constitutes one of the most important guarantees of freedom in a democratic society . . . .”). “Section 14, Article I of the Ohio Constitution, which contains language nearly identical to its federal counterpart, also prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.” State v. Orr, 745 N.E.2d 1036, 1038-39 (Ohio 2001).
  4.  Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 153 (1925). “[W]e deal here with . . . police conduct-necessarily swift action predicated upon the on-the-spot observations of the officer on the beat-which historically has not been, and as a practical matter could not be, subjected to the warrant procedure.” Terry, 392 U.S. at 20.
  5.  Terry, 392 U.S. at 20 (“[T]he conduct involved . . . [here] . . . must be tested by the Fourth Amendment’s general proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures.”). “An automobile stop is thus subject to the constitutional imperative that it not be “unreasonable” under the circumstances.” Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 810 (1996).
  6. Terry, 392 U.S. at 21. “The scheme of the Fourth Amendment becomes meaningful only when it is assured that at some point the conduct of those charged with enforcing the laws can be subjected to the more detached, neutral scrutiny of a judge who must evaluate the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure in light of the particular circumstances.” Id.
  7. Id. at 12. The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter police from violating the Fourth Amendment in their efforts to obtain evidence. Id. Courts exclude the evidence to prevent becoming a party to the lawless police conduct. Id.