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Criminal Justice In Action 6th edi. - Chapter 7 Police and the Constitution: The Rules of Law Enforcement

"good faith" exception

The legal principle, established through court decisions, that evidence obtained with the use of a technically invalid search warrant is admissible during trial if the police acted in good faith when they sought the warrant from a judge.

"inevitable discovery" exception

The legal principle that illegally obtained evidence can be admitted in court if police using lawful means would have "inevitably" discovered it.

Miranda rights

The constitutional rights of accused persons taken into custody by law enforcement officials. Following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona, on taking an accused person into custody, the arresting officer must inform the person of certain constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to counsel.


A written statement of facts, confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it and made before a person having the authority to administer the oath or affirmation.

Anticipatory search warrant

A search warrant based on the premise that specific evidence of a crime will be located at a named place in the future, though the evidence is not necessarily at that place when the warrant is issued.


To take into custody a person suspected of criminal activity. Police may use only reasonable levels of force in making an arrest.

Arrest warrant

A written order, based on probable cause and issued by a judge or magistrate, commanding that the person named on the warrant be arrested by the police.


The process of entering a suspect's name, offense, and arrival time into the police log following her or his arrest.

Consent searches

Searches by police that are made after the subject of the search has agreed to the action. In these situations, consent, if given of free will, validates a warrantless search.

Custodial interrogation

The questioning of a suspect after that person has been taken into custody. In this situation, the suspect must be read his or her Miranda rights before interrogation can begin.


The forceful detention of a person, or the perception that a person is not free to leave the immediate vicinity.

Electronic surveillance

The use of electronic equipment by law enforcement agents to record private conversations or observe conduct that is meant to be private.

Exclusionary rule

A rule under which any evidence that is obtained in violation of the accused's rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, as well as any evidence derived from illegally obtained evidence, will not be admissible in criminal court.

Exigent circumstances

Situations that require extralegal or exceptional actions by the police. In these circumstances, police officers are justified in not following procedural rules, such as those pertaining to search and arrest warrants.


A pat-down or minimal search by police to discover weapons; conducted for the express purpose of protecting the officer or other citizens, and not to find evidence of illegal substances for use in a trial.

Fruit of the poisoned tree

Evidence that is acquired through the use of illegally obtained evidence and is therefore inadmissible in court.


The direct questioning of a suspect to gather evidence of criminal activity and try to gain a confession.

Plain view doctrine

The legal principle that objects in plain view of a law enforcement agent who has the right to be in a position to have that view may be seized without a warrant and introduced as evidence.

Probable cause

Reasonable grounds to believe the existence of facts warranting certain actions, such as the search or arrest of a person.

Racial profiling

The practice of targeting members of minority groups for police stops based solely on their race, ethnicity, or national origin.


The process by which police examine a person or property to find evidence that will be used to prove guilt in a criminal trial.

Search warrant

A written order, based on probable cause and issued by a judge or magistrate, commanding that police officers or criminal investigators search a specific person, place, or property to obtain evidence.

Searches and seizures

The legal term, as found in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, that generally refers to the searching for and the confiscating of evidence by law enforcement agents.

Searches incidental to arrests

Searches for weapons and evidence of persons who have just been arrested. The fruit of such searches is admissible if any items found are within the immediate vicinity or control of the suspect


The forcible taking of a person or property in response to a violation of the law.


A brief detention of a person by law enforcement agents for questioning. The agents must have a reasonable suspicion of the person before making a stop.

Warrantless arrest

An arrest made without first seeking a warrant for the action; permitted under certain circumstances, such as when the arresting officer has witnessed the crime or has probable cause that the suspect has committed a felony.

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