Can Police Search my Home Without a Warrant?

A search warrant is an order signed by a judge that gives police officers authority to search for specific objects or materials in the location noted in the warrant. In order to obtain a search warrant, the police must have probable cause to believe there is criminal activity taking place in the location they are wishing to search. Although the search warrant grants police access inside the location, they can only search the place described in the warrant – so, for example, if a search warrant only mentions a backyard, the police cannot search inside the house. There are, however, exceptions to when authorities need a search warrant. In this blog, we share three instances that don’t require a search warrant.

Consent Searches

If the person in charge of the premises freely agrees to have the police search the property, a search warrant is not needed – as long as the officers limit their search only to what was agreed to, and they must have reason to believe that the consenting person had the authority to actually give consent. During the search, it’s not required that the police asks for permission to search each and every room. The court finds that giving consent is a broad enough scope to justify whatever search is conducted.

Plain View

If a police officer can see evidence that is in plain view, a search warrant is not needed, but the officer must have probable cause to believe the item is legitimate evidence. For example, if you’re pulled over and the police officer can see what appears to be cocaine on the passenger seat, it’s likely the officer can seize it and arrest you.

In Connection with an Arrest

If you’re arrested in your own home, a police officer does not need a search warrant to search the premises if it’s in connection with the arrest. Oftentimes authorities will do a “protective sweep” after an arrest if they have reason to believe that an accomplice or second suspect is hiding.

If you’ve been arrested or are being investigated for criminal charges, you should waste no time in contacting a seasoned Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. The Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi represents clients in a number of different cases from drug and theft crimes to assault and DWIs. Contact the firm today to request your free consultation.

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