Teens and the 4th and 5th Amendments
Most teens do not seem too enthused about law, government, the constitution and the like unless they want to pursue a career in the field of law. If you were to hold a survey where you asked people about their rights and freedoms, many people would not know them word for word and under which amendment they’d fall and teens would probably do the same. They could tell you what rights and freedoms they possess, but not under which amendment. Some adolescents may question whether they really need to know their rights and freedoms specifically or just the general concept. If you asked the youth, they may not be able to tell you what rights the 4th and 5th Amendments grant you which worries me because of how important these amendments are, especially pertaining to teens.
The 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and require any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. This means that the police can pat you down, however they cannot frisk you unless they feel something suspicious. If you are stopped by the police for speeding, you do not have to consent to any searches, in fact it is advisable to deny consent unless you know for sure the vehicle you are in has no illegal substances. The 5th Amendment protects a person against being compelled to be a witness against themselves in a criminal case. Once again, if you are stopped by the police for a traffic violation, you have the right to remain silent when the officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over. As a teen, you have less rights in school than you do out of school. Any teacher or staff member in your school can check your locker, purse, phone, back pack, bags,and your person if they are given reason to. Police however,cannot search you without a warrant.
The right that stands out to most people in this day and age, especially adolescents, is that police do not have the right to search your personal phone, computer, tablet or anything of the such. In the cases of Riley v. California (2014) , US v Wurie (2007) and US v Jones (2012), the police searched through several individual’s phones and one GPS device to find evidence when they did not have a warrant, consent or a reason to.
In the case of Riley v California (2014), a man by the name of David Leon Riley was stopped for a traffic violation and the police discovered that his license had been suspended and that the car was impounded. The officer searched the car and found two handguns under the hood of the vehicle. Riley’s phone was also searched and it was found out that he was involved in a gang called the Bloods and that he was recently involved in a shooting. In the long run, Riley was convicted. In the case of US v Wurie (2007),. Two phones were confiscated from the scene of an apparent drug sale. After observing the confiscated phones, enough information was uncovered to find out where Wurie’s place of residence was. In the case of US v Jones (2012), a GPS device was tracked by the police without consent in order to gather information.
To conclude, the 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The police have no right to search your person or your belongings unless you give consent or they have a warrant. The 5th Amendment protects a person against being compelled to be a witness against themselves. This essentially gives you the right to remain silent when being questioned by police. The cases listed above are 3 of many cases in which police and people in power have violated citizens’ 5th and 4th Amendments. As an adolescent, you have less rights in school than you do outside of school. Teens should have a very wide knowledge of their rights before they get behind the wheel so that they can protect themselves. Happy reading!