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When can the police search your home?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Police officers have a host of legal powers at their disposal to investigate criminal activity. They can search individuals and their property and carry out arrests when necessary. Nonetheless, police officers are also subject to certain rules and regulations. They cannot arbitrarily interfere with the liberty of citizens or act in a prejudicial manner.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. So, when are the police entitled to search a home?

When you consents

A home visit from the police is not a regular thing for most people. Thus, it’s not easy to know how to react in this situation. A trusting individual may invite the police inside to discuss the situation. At this point, they have potentially consented to a home search, including the removal of evidence.

Consent can be something as simple as saying, “Why don’t you come in for a minute?”. Remember, you’re not obliged to let officers in and you can talk to them through the door.

Valid search warrant

If the police have a valid search warrant, then this is a different story. A valid warrant means that police are entitled to enter your home, even without your consent. However, the warrant must be valid. It must specify your address, and the correct date and it must also give an indication of what officers are looking for and are entitled to seize.

Probable cause

In some cases, officers may be entitled to enter a home without having a valid search warrant. If they have probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been committed, or that vital evidence may be destroyed, then they can enter your home without consent. Probable cause means that officers have compelling evidence that a crime has been committed. For example, they may have heard screams from inside the home when arriving at the scene.

If your home has been searched and you are facing criminal charges, then it is vital to have accurate legal information behind you.