Article I, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution ("Searches and Seizures")

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Adopted February 15, 1876:

The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

Editor Comments

The text of this section generally tracks the Fourth Amendment to the federal constitution, which reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Attorney Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Hulit v. State, 982 S.W.2d 431, 436 (Tex.Crim.App. 1998) ("It is our holding that Article I, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution contains no requirement that a seizure or search be authorized by a warrant, and that a seizure or search that is otherwise reasonable will not be found to be in violation of that section because it was not authorized by a warrant. . . . We understand that our holding means that Section 9 of our Bill of Rights does not offer greater protection to the individual than the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and it may offer less protection.")

Historic Decisions

  • Santikos v. State, 836 S.W.2d 631, 632 n.1 (Tex.Crim.App. 1992) (citations omitted) ("We note that appellant challenges the constitutionality of . . . . Moreover, when this Court has previously addressed both federal and state constitutional challenges to Section 101.04, T.A.B.C., it has relied on Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Fourth Amendment. Consequently, we shall not distinguish between the constitutional provisions, but find them to be the same for the purpose of analyzing the constitutionality of the warrantless administrative search provision in Section 101.04.")
  • Heitman v. State, 815 S.W.2d 681, 690 (Tex.Crim.App. 1991) (footnote omitted) ("Therefore, given the foregoing reasons and the numerous decisions tacitly addressing the 'interpretation issue', we now expressly conclude that this Court, when analyzing and interpreting Art. I, § 9, Tex. Const., will not be bound by Supreme Court decisions addressing the comparable Fourth Amendment issue. In reaching this conclusion, we recognize that state constitutions cannot subtract from the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, but they can provide additional rights to their citizens.")
  • Brown v. State, 657 S.W.2d 797, 799 (Tex.Crim.App. 1983) ("But it is not the function of the judiciary to engraft such changes upon our Constitution. . . . Since this Court's pronouncements in Crowell v. State, supra, almost forty years ago, there has been no groundswell to change the provisions of Article I, Section 9. And since that time, this Court has opted to interpret our Constitution in harmony with the Supreme Court's opinions interpreting the Fourth Amendment. We shall continue on this path until such time as we are statutorily or constitutionally mandated to do otherwise.")

Library Resources

Online Resources