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When can the police search my property?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2022 | Criminal Law

Even when police conduct a traffic stop or arrest, we all still have certain rights they cannot violate. When it comes to searching our private property, the fourth amendment protects us from law enforcement going through our property for no reason. In order for police to conduct a lawful search of a person’s car or home, they need to meet certain conditions. Here are four conditions that police can use to search your property without a warrant:

With your permission

The simplest way for officers to search your car or home is with your permission. Many people would never grant police permission to conduct a search, but police have a way to try and get around this. They may ask you for permission in a confusing manner so that you are not aware that you are granting them permission. If you do not want police looking through your property when they ask, be sure that you are clearly and plainly stating that.

After an arrest

If the police arrest someone, they have the right to search nearby property to gather additional evidence. This means that if you are arrested at a traffic stop or in your home, the police have the right to search through your property, which can worsen your charges depending on what they may find.

Plain sight

Police do not need your permission to search through your property if they can plainly see an illegal activity or item. If the police spot drug paraphernalia at a traffic stop, they have the right to search through the vehicle with no other questions or permission asked.

Emergency situations

Emergencies are often an exception to the rule, and this case is no different. Suppose the police are actively pursuing a suspect. In that case, someone is experiencing a medical emergency, or another form of “life or death” situation appears, police are able to enter a property, and anything they find in the process may be subject to criminal charges.

What happens if you are the victim of an illegal search?

If you suspect that the police are conducting an illegal search or you suspect you are already the victim of one, consult with an attorney right away. Fighting with the police during the illegal search can cause more problems than solutions. Instead, let a lawyer fight for you after the fact, so you can hold reckless officers accountable for their actions.