There are many requirements that must be met for a search warrant to be legal in a given situation. Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the people have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that the government must almost always have a warrant to search and seize you and your property.
When They Don’t Need a Warrant
Many searches are conducted without a warrant, believe it or not – but the situation must call for it. There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in many situations. However, with probable cause, a police officer will be able to enter despite the lack of warrant. Probable cause can be proven in a wide array of situations, such as if a suspect is on the run or if a gunshot is heard from a home and investigation must follow. Here are some of the main ways that a warrant can be excluded:
- Consent: Perhaps an individual opens themselves and their home to search without a warrant being necessary. If someone welcomes the police into their home to search, they can search without the warrant and will let you know your rights in the situation.
- Plain View Doctrine: If evidence is clearly visible in front of them, the police can legally search. For instance, if a police officer pulls you over and sees drugs on the seat beside you, they can then conduct a search.
- Search Incident: If you have been arrested under certain circumstances, a search can be conducted then. A police officer can also search a location if they believe that a suspect is hiding out.
- Exigent Circumstances: If public safety is at stake and an emergency situation calls for it, the police can perform a search.
You are legally allowed to refuse a search and seizure in any position, and a police officer will have to obtain a warrant if there is no reasonable cause. This is why, if you believe that your rights have been intruded upon, you should give us a call today. We can help you with your case and help defend your rights.