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 .
The Fourth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was ratified as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance which was a type of general search warrant in the American Revolution. It specified that any warrant must be judicially sanctioned for a search or an arrest in order for such a warrant to be considered reasonable. Warrants must be supported by probable cause and be limited in scope according to specific information supplied by a person. It only applies to governmental actors and to criminal law . An example would be if a warrant is issued for child porn on an individual’s computer, but finds records of embezzlement, the embezzlement records could not be used in a court of law. The exception is if the police could justify obtaining a warrant to search the computer for records of embezzlement.
The Fourth Amendment interposes a magistrate as an impartial arbiter between the defendant and the police. The magistrate may issue a search warrant if the magistrate or judge is convince that probable cause exists to support a belief that evidence of a crime is located at the premises. The officer must prepare an affidavit that describes the basis for probable cause and the affidavit must limit the area to be searched and evidence searched for. The warrant thus gives the police only a limited right to violate a citizen’s privacy. If the police exceed that limited right, or if a warrant is required, but the police have not first obtained