The Fourth Amendment notes that we have the right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects” and that we should also be secure “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Seizure of property can only occur if a warrant has been issued for a search. This occurs after “probable cause” has been established and a judge has issued a search warrant.
That means that we are protected from the seizure of property within our homes. Law enforcement must have legally established a sound reason for coming into our homes and for taking our property. If this has not been done, any seizure is a violation of an individual’s civil rights. The amendment also extends to any personal property and includes motor vehicles, with some exceptions, and handbags, backpacks, wallets and other such items.
The Fourth Amendment is especially important in establishing our rights to property and the fact that those rights cannot be subverted by the whim of the government or an officer of the court. It gives us security in our daily lives. It also allows us to excise our right to seek justice if our property has been seized illegally.