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What's a Police House Search?

A police house search occurs when the police enter a person’s residence and search for evidence of a crime. Normally, police need a warrant in order to conduct a search of someone’s house. This is because under the Fourth Amendment, people have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches of their property, including their homes. Without a warrant, police generally can’t conduct a house or property search.

What Can Police Search for Inside a Person’s Home?

When conducting a home search, police are limited to searching only for items that are listed in the search warrant documents. This will depend of course on each individual criminal investigation. Common objects of searches include:

In addition, police can sometimes search a person’s computer and other electronic devices for evidence. This also requires a search warrant, regardless of whether the electronic device is located in the person’s home or not. Search and seizure laws can sometimes vary depending on the state

What Is an Illegal Search?

An illegal search is one that is conducted without a warrant, or one that violates the terms of the warrant. For instance, if the police search a person’s home without securing a warrant, it is often considered an illegal search. Or, if the police search an address that is different from the one listed in the warrant, it’s usually considered an illegal search.

There are several exceptions to the warrant requirement however, such as when the police are pursuing a fleeing suspect, or if they suspect that the evidence is in danger of being destroyed. Various other exceptions can apply Evidence that is seized during an illegal search is generally excluded from the evidence record during trial.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Police House Search Issue?

Criminal matters generally require the assistance of a qualified legal professional. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer if you need help clarifying a police search issue. Your attorney can help determine whether or not your rights have been violated, and what the remedies might be. Also, during trial, your attorney will be able to represent you and guide you throughout the process.

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Last Modified: 01-02-2014 12:46 PM PST

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