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When Law Enforcement Can and Can’t Search Your Home

So you’re sitting on the couch binge-watching Tiger King and the police show up asking to take a look around. Now what? Below are a few of the most common instances in which you’ll need to let them in:

 

  1. Search warrants. The most obvious time you’ll need to let them through the door is when they have a valid search warrant. If the warrant is unlawful or law enforcement searches beyond the warrant’s permissible scope, then an experienced, highly-qualified criminal defense firm can attack the search later on and move to suppress any evidence obtained as a result. But as far as the search is concerned right then and there, the police are usually good to go when they are holding that warrant.

 

  1. Exigent circumstances. Of course, there are always exceptions where law enforcement can still come inside without a warrant. If your friend just robbed a bank then fled into your home, the police are going to be able to come in as part of their pursuit. The same thing applies if there is a good chance there’s evidence of a crime inside, and you would have an opportunity to destroy it while the police wait to obtain a warrant. These are examples of when officers can still search your place without a warrant and over your objection.

 

  1. The most common way the police end up in your living room without a warrant, though, is with your consent. We often hear clients tell us they consented to a search of their home, property, or car because they figured it was going to happen whether they agreed or not, so why bother saying no? The answer is simple: Because it gives your defense attorney an extra opportunity down the road to argue that the search was unlawful, and because there is no good reason to help out the individuals investigating you for a crime.

 

So when you get that knock on the door, it’s generally a good idea to politely and respectfully decline to consent to any searches. If presented with a search warrant, step aside and keep any copies provided to give to your defense attorney if you are arrested. Then, let your attorney take it from there.

 

For more information on how this may affect your case, check out managing partner David Shapiro’s breakdown on home searches here, or give us a call at (619) 295-3555 to speak with someone on our team.

 

The contents of this article and blog are for meant for informational and marketing purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Viewing and/or use of the blog does not form an attorney-client relationship. No statements in this post are a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of a particular result in your case.

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