The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law. Whether a particular type of search is considered reasonable in the eyes of the law, is determined by balancing two important interests. On one side of the scale is the intrusion on an individual's Fourth Amendment rights. On the other side of the scale are legitimate government interests, such as public safety.
The extent to which an individual is protected by the Fourth Amendment depends, in part, on the location of the search or seizure. Searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable. In order for the warrant to be in compliance with the 4th Amendment, the warrant must be very specific about what is being looked for and where the officer can look for it .However, there are some exceptions. A warrantless search may be lawful:
If an officer is given consent to search, if the search is incident to a lawful arrest, if there is probable cause to search and exigent circumstances, if the items are in plain view. When an officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude that criminal activity may be afoot, the officer may briefly stop the suspicious person and make reasonable inquiries aimed at confirming or dispelling the officer's suspicions. School officials need not obtain a warrant before searching a student who is under their authority; rather, a search of a student need only be reasonable under all the circumstances. Where there is probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains evidence of a criminal activity, an officer may lawfully search any area of the vehicle in which the evidence might be found. An officer may conduct a traffic stop if he has reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has occurred or that