search and seizure

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

In criminal law, the phrase that describes law enforcement's gathering of evidence of a crime. Under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, any search of a person or his premises (including a vehicle), and any seizure of tangible evidence, must be reasonable. Normally, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant from a judge, specifying where and whom they may search, and what they may seize, though in emergency circumstances, they may dispense with the warrant requirement.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.