Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Fourth Amendment Definition:

US constitutional protection against unreasonable search or arrest.

Related Terms: First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Independent Source Doctrine, Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine, Search Warrant, Knock and Talk, Search, Seizure, Open Fields Doctrine, Curtilage

Part of a comprehensive ten-part amendment in 1791 to the 1787 Constitution of the United States and which presents a constutitional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The text of the Fourth Amendment is:

"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 amendment epitomizes the expression:

"Every man's house is his castle".

In US v Khabeer, Justice Colloton of the United States Court of Appeals wrote:

"The Fourth Amendment generally prohibits police from entering a home without a warrant unless the circumstances fit an established exception to the warrant requirement."



  • US v. Khabeer, 410 F. 3d 477 (2005)

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