Warrantless Search Lawyers
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When Is a Warrantless Search and Seizure Valid?
Warrantless searches and seizures are illegal because they violates the Constitution. However, they can become legal if they fall under an exception.
When Is a Warrantless Search Valid?
Warrants are usually needed when searching and seizing evidence, but a search and seizure without a warrant is valid if:
- A search is conducted after a lawful arrest.
- The search is under emergency circumstances, or the police are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect.
- An officer has reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk you (also known as a “Terry stop”).
- Officers have probable cause that a crime has occurred in your car, they may search your vehicle.
- You consent to a warrantless search.
- The evidence is in “plain view” and the officer is lawfully in the area.
- The search is for administrative purposes (ex. Fire, health, or safety inspections).
What If the Police Had an Invalid Warrant?
A warrant is issued by a neutral judge and must be based on probable cause in order to be valid. The warrant must also state which areas can be searched and which items can be seized.
If one of these requirements is not met and law enforcement knew about it, then the warrant is invalid and all the evidence could be suppressed. However, if the police acted in “good faith” and believed that the warrant was valid, then the evidence may still be admissible in court.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Warrantless Search Issues?
Yes. Getting legal help from a criminal defense attorney can be in your best interest because warrantless searches can be complex. An attorney can help you determine if the right procedures were performed when you were searched.
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Last Modified: 10-03-2014 12:41 PM PDT
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