Years ago, problems between neighbors were resolved infomally, perhaps with the help of a third person respected by both sides. These days, neighbors - who may not know each other well, if at all - are quicker to call the police or head for court. Usually, of course, lawsuits only cost everyone money and exacerbate bad feelings, which makes it even harder for neighbors to coexist peacefully. But knowing the legal ground rules is important; it can help you figure out who's right, who's wrong, and what your options are - without having to call in a judge.
It is one of the most misunderstood areas of the law, and one that most people rarely think about until they are thrust into an unexpected encounter with police, or other law enforcement authorities; namely, what rights do they have to protect themselves from an unwarranted search of their person or home, and subsequent seizure of personal property? It's an issue that comes up more and more frequently in our highly security conscious society.