Protection against illegal search and seizure by police and government officials is the basic guarantee given to American citizens by the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Like most of the rights and freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights, the 4th Amendment has come under heavy debate about its contents in the past, and will continue to be argued over in the future. In the Bill of Rights, the framers specifically state this freedom; "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effect against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by the Oath of Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Maddex, 240) This statement gives a broad view of the specific guarantee, and the following paragraphs will help to further define and explain the conflict over the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
One term that you may be questioning the meaning of is probable cause, because it has been widely used without exactly explaining the definition. It is a situation allowing the police reason to believe that a person should be arrested. During an arrest, police are then allowed to legally search and seize incriminating evidence. Because the 4th Amendment makes it illegal to obtain a warrant without probable cause, it limits the police or government from just barging into your house and collecting evidence for something that they feel is incriminating. Defining this key term greatly increases one's understanding of the 4th Amendment and what it exactly states.
The 4th Amendment was put into practice by way of judicial review. Ever since 1914, the Supreme Court has used the exclusionary rule to weigh evidence in criminal cases. (Gordon, 96) This is the rule that disallows any illegally seized evidence to be introduced against someone in court.