If you are traveling to Greenville or other communities here in upstate South Carolina, you have constitutional privacy rights when you stay at a hotel, motel or other lodging. South Carolina criminal law recognizes your rights to privacy with respect to your home and with respect to other places where you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Hotel rooms are one such place where all of us have this reasonable expectation of privacy. If you find yourself accused of a crime because law enforcement unlawfully searched your room, you — as the criminally accused — can insist upon those rights and use those privacy rights as a defense against prosecution. You will need skilled and experienced Greenville SC criminal defense attorneys to help. Here is what you should know.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: Right To Privacy In Your Home
In Greenville, the US Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution prevents the government from violating the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const., Amend. IV; S.C. Const. art. I, § 10. The right extends to a person’s house. Indeed, the Fourth Amendment specifically mentions houses. The Fourth Amendment states: “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. . . .” The right of privacy extends to various parts of your house including porches and the like.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: Right To Privacy Extends to Other Places Too
But, as noted, a criminally accused does not need to be an owner of a property in order to claim Fourth Amendment rights. See State v. Daniels, 252 S.C. 591, 167 S.E.2d 621 (1969). The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right — that is, it attaches to you as a person. Thus, as you travel around Greenville and Greenville County, your right to privacy goes with you. Thus, according to South Carolina courts, the Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure if you are in a place where you “have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
A common example is when you are a guest at a hotel, motel or other temporary lodging establishment. Stoner v. California, 376 U.S. 483 (1964) (“…a guest in a hotel room is entitled to constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. “)
As an example, in the case of State v. Bowie, 600 SE 2d 112 (S. Car. App. 2004), the court recognized that the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy as a guest of a hotel. In that case, the defendant was a guest in room 215, but his associates were guests in room 309. The police received a warrant and searched room 309. During the search, they found large quantities of cocaine in a duffel bag belonging to the defendant. The court held that defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to his room — room 215 — but not room 309. As such, denial of the motion to suppress the duffel bag of cocaine was properly denied.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense Attorneys: Contact The Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
If you more information, contact the skilled and experienced Greenville SC criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. If the police have searched and seized your property while you were a guest at a hotel or at a friend’s apartment or something similar, call our office immediately. We can protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today via email. We have offices in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.