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Recent police contact got you wondering…

Both the Federal and Montana Constitutions protect Montana citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.  The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”  U.S. Const. Amend. IV.

The Montana Constitution echoes and protects further, stating that “[n]o warrant to search any place or seize any person or thing shall issue without describing the place to be searched or the person to be seized, or without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing.”  Mont. Const. art. II, § 11.

Apart from the implicit privacy protection provided by the Fourth Amendment and similar language of Article II, Section 11, the Montana Constitution separately grants an express right to “individual privacy” against government intrusion.  Mont. Const. art. II, § 10 (“[t]he right of individual privacy is essential to … a free society” and “shall not be infringed” absent “showing of a compelling state interest”).  In accordance with the special privacy concerns of the Framers of our 1972 Constitution, Article II, Section 10 provides broader privacy protection, where implicated, than the Fourth Amendment and similar Article II, Section 11 protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.  See, e.g., State v. Hardaway, 2001 MT 252, ¶ 51; State v. Scheetz, 286 Mont. 41, 47 (Mont. 1997); State v. Solis, 214 Mont. 310, 316-18 (Mont. 1984).

“Except for certain limited exceptions to the warrant requirement, warrantless searches and seizures are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment and Montana Constitution, Article II, section 11.”  State v. Hoover, 2017 MT 236, ¶ 14.

Contact us immediately.  The attorneys at diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP will properly evaluate your situation and advise you accordingly.  Call us now to set up a consultation.