Can the police search me if I am a convicted felon?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Dec 06, 2017 | 0 Comments

When a person is convicted of a felony, many of their rights are limited or waived. Those rights can include their right to vote, their right to possess a firearm, and their 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. This even happens when it is a felony DUI case in Georgia.

As a consequence of the conviction, convicted felons very often permanently lose their voting rights and their firearm rights. However, the right against unreasonable search and seizure is not permanently waived.

For anyone residing in the United States (whether a citizen or not), the government cannot search you, your automobile, your personal papers (including the internet), or your home without probable cause.

Probable cause is established when there is sufficient evidence that a crime has occurred to convince a magistrate to issue a search warrant.

There are exceptions to the rule requiring a search warrant; however, in every situation, the police must still have probable cause to search someone unless they voluntarily consent to be searched.

For convicted felons, most judges will order that they waive their 4th Amendment rights while they are on probation. As a result, a convicted felon (while on probation) can be searched for any reason or no reason at all.

That being said, the 4th Amendment is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Once a person has served their time, they are again afforded the right against unreasonable search and seizure. The police must then take the same steps to perform a search as with any other suspect.

One thing is certain, people who have been convicted of a felony are intimidated by a police encounter. The police know that they can bully a convicted felon, and they use the fear of the police to get people to "voluntarily" waive their rights against self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure.

Stand strong, if the police want to question you, do not ever speak to the police. If the police want to search you, tell them to get a warrant. Most of the time, they will not get one.

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Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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