Generally speaking, the police need a search warrant to search someone’s home. The home is one of the areas in which people usually have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Thus, under the 4th Amendment, police need a warrant before they can search a person’s home. However, there are certain circumstances in which police can conduct a warrantless search of your home.
These include situations like: evidence is about to be destroyed; a suspect is fleeing in your building; there is a lawful arrest in progress; the items being seized were in plain sight; and the person has consented to a search of the premises. These are known as “exceptions to the warrant requirement.”
A valid police search warrant should contain:
Thus, a police home search may be considered invalid if these warrant requirements are not fulfilled. For instance, if the warrant only authorizes the police to enter a certain address, they can’t enter into an adjacent neighbor’s house, or into the house located across the street. They would need to secure a separate warrant for that house.
Some jurisdictions allow the police to search your home if your landlord or roommate gives the police permission to enter in the home. However, the landlord or roommate can only authorize the police’s entry into common areas that are shared by you. They generally can’t allow the police to enter into your own private room. Evidence that’s seized due to an improper search can’t be used in court.
Police searches can often affect the outcome of a criminal trial. You may need to hire a lawyer if you need help with police search legal issues. Your attorney can determine whether a police search was conducted properly, and whether or not the evidence should be admitted to court. Also, your lawyer can help provide representation during the actual criminal proceedings.
Last Modified: 06-22-2015 10:37 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.