Does the 4 Amendment Apply to me on the Water?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was written almost 250 years ago in direct response to the British being permitted to search virtually any home, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.
Although the Fourth Amendment protects citizens, law abiding or not, from the threat of an “unwarranted” search, unfortunately that protection effectively ceases once a citizen gets on a vessel, and this unfortunate reality holds true as a matter of both federal and state law.
Just like the Red Coats of old, today, any law enforcement agency, be it the USCG, FFWCC, Metropolitan Police, the Sheriff’s Office or even the smallest of municipal police agencies, can stop and board an vessel at any time, effectively for any reason or no reason at all.
They are not required to have either probable cause or even a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, much less a warrant, and law enforcement can, and will, do this under the guise of either “safety inspections” or for “compliance” purposes (such as to make sure that any captured sea life is a lawful species of a lawful size and was captured in a lawful season),
This may not seem fair but those are the rules. You are simply not afforded the same protections on the water that you are on land.
At Michael A. Haber, PA “it’s all about reasonable doubt”!
Please note that no attorney-client relationship with either Michael A. Haber, PA or Michael A. Haber, Esq. exists as a result of your watching this Webisode series. Further any and all information which is both contained in and may be construed from this Webisode series is generic in nature and should only be considered as informational and not as actual legal advise in any specific case. Should you wish to seek actual legal advise then please feel free to contact Michael A. Haber, Esq. as follows:
Office Phone: 305-381-8686
Toll Free Phone: 1-888-SHARK-8-1
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