A 911 memorial which later led to the emergence of the Patriot Act

What Is the ‘Patriot Act’ and How Does It Affect Your Criminal Case?

The infamous Patriot Act increased the government’s power to spy on its citizens in four different aspects:

  • Record searches (the government’s ability to obtain your records with a third party).
  • Secret searches (the government’s ability to search your belongings without any notice).
  • Intelligence searches (the government’s ability to collect foreign intelligence information).
  • Trap and trace searches (the government’s ability to collect information about your communication)

What Is The Patriot Act?

After the 9/11 attacks, the US government embarked on developing its surveillance on suspected terrorist activity. Just one month after the coordinated attack, many restrictions and legal constraints were removed from the intelligence agencies. On October 11th, 2011, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which in other words, stands for “Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.”

The Pre-Patriot Act State of Affairs

The act loosened the restrictions on the amount of personal information about the US citizens and non-citizens that the government could obtain and use.

A 911 memorial photographed

Initially, the restrictions existed to prevent the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies from using anti-terrorism laws to tackle criminal cases. The restrictions allowed them to do an end-run around the legal constraints put into protecting the defendants. Before the act came into the being, there was a significant difference between criminal warrants and intelligence warrants. The distinction existed to prevent the FBI from using an intelligence warrant to look for further evidence in a criminal case. If there were no restrictions, the authorities would have to obtain a search warrant backed by a probable cause.

Post-Patriot Act State of Affairs

Patriot Act destroyed the distinction between search warrants and intelligence warrants. Under the act, an intelligence warrant can be used to investigate criminal cases. It allowed criminal surveillance of defendants without any need for probable cause that was previously needed under the constitution. The law authorized such investigation and wholly violated the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

In short, when an investigation is launched against a defendant, the Patriot Act may significantly complicate your case. We recommend talking to a criminal defense attorney to see if your case violates the law or might be considered terrorism.

Meanwhile, DeLaughter Bail Bonds can help you post your bail. We offer 24-hours bail bond services throughout Indiana, including Marshall County, Pulaski County, Lake County, and Allen County. Give us a call to speak to our bail bond agents now.

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