Search and Seizure FAQ
When is a police investigation considered a search?
1. When is a police investigation considered a search?
A police investigation constitutes a search if it intrudes on a person's "legitimate expectation of privacy." Courts ask two questions to determine whether a person had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place or things searched:
- Did the person expect some degree of privacy?
- Is the person's expectation reasonable -- that is, one that society is willing to recognize?
If the answer to either of the above questions is "no," then the investigation is not a "search." (To learn more about what constitutes a legitimate expectation of privacy, see Understanding Search-and-Seizure Law.)