Do the police need a warrant to search your property?

| Feb 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens from illegal searches. Whether it’s your home, your residence, a vehicle or your actual person, there are plenty of reasons the police can cite to perform a search.

What defines a search?

It’s first important to determine what constitutes a police search. There are a few questions that a court will use to clarify if a police investigation became a search:

  1. The person was in a private space where they expected a measure of privacy.
  2. That expectation of privacy was reasonable.

Knowing your rights

There is a misconception that the police need a search warrant before they initiate a search. Here are four scenarios in which the police are allowed to search your property:

  • If consent is given: If the police arrive at your residence and ask your permission to come inside and search for drugs and you agree, they do not need a warrant. This stipulation also applies, in many cases, to a roommate or landlord who can grant permission.
  • Emergency scenarios: If there is an emergency that puts residents at risk, the police may enter homes and private property in pursuit of an armed or dangerous suspect.
  • An arrest occurred: Once the police arrest a person, they can search that person and the immediate vicinity for weapons that may be dangerous to the police or others.
  • Evidence in view: If there is evidence of illegal activity in plain sight of ana rea where the police are legally allowed to be, they would most likely have probable cause to begin a search.

Were your rights violated?

An illegal search and seizure is unconstitutional. The police make mistakes and fail to follow protocol all the time. Don’t let a drug charge turn into a conviction if they didn’t do their due diligence. If a police search led to incriminating material or evidence used to charge you with a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to comb through their procedures and determine if your rights were violated.