Searches without a Warrant

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Searches without a Warrant

Generally speaking, police need to secure a search warrant before they can seize evidence during an investigation. Without a warrant, any evidence obtained is usually excluded from the evidence record, and in some cases, a warrantless search can be considered illegal. Searches and privacy are broadly covered by the fourth amendment and various state and federal laws.

However, there are certain circumstances that justify searches without a warrant. These situations include:

Thus, various state and federal laws allow the police to make searches without a warrant. Of course, these are subject to a whole host of limitations and regulations regarding what the officer can and cannot search. Evidence obtained through an illegal search generally can’t be used in court.

Does a Search Need to be Announced?

If police have a valid search warrant, they are allowed to enter the premises even without knocking, ringing a doorbell, or announcing their presence. This is a newer rule in criminal procedure laws; the old rule was that police had to announce their presence before entering a closed area.

However, due to safety considerations of the police, they no longer need to make an announcement. On the other hand, this rule only applies to federal searches under federal laws. Each state may have a slightly different take on this rule, which is often referred to as the "knock and announce" rule.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Criminal Case?

Dealing with issues such as valid searches and search warrants can often get confusing. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer if you need legal representation regarding a criminal issue. Your attorney can advise you of your rights and can represent you during any court hearings.

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Last Modified: 06-22-2015 10:41 AM PDT

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