When Can Police Search My Home?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. According to the Fourth Amendment “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.”

This means that police officers must obtain warrants from a court of law to legally search people’s homes to find evidence for alleged criminal activity. However, the Supreme Court has recognized exceptions to the warrant rule in several cases. Police can search your home without a warrant in any of the following situations:

  • Consent: You or another individual with authority over the premises gives consent to a search of the premises. While police don’t have to inform you that you have the right to refuse a search, they cannot trick or coerce you to into letting them enter your home.
  • Plain View Doctrine: If police are in a place where they can clearly see evidence of a crime, then they can seize the evidence, which might give them probable cause to search the property further.
  • Search Incident to Lawful Arrest: If police enter your home to make an arrest, then they can legally search the immediate area where the arrest occurred. Police can also perform a “protective sweep” to determine if dangerous accomplice or accomplices are hiding nearby.
  • Exigent Circumstances: If the police believe a person is in danger or they pursue a person into a home and the amount of time it would take to get a warrant would jeopardize public safety or lead to the loss of evidence, then they can perform a search without obtaining a warrant.

Why You Need a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer

If your home or property was illegally searched or seized by law enforcement, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP so we can review the details of your case and build a strong legal strategy to protect your best interests. We understand that your rights and future may be at stake, so let us put our skills to work for you today.

To schedule a free case review with our criminal defense team, please give us a call at (800) 462-7160.