Christiansen Trial Lawyers

CONTACT OUR LAW FIRM : 702-240-7979

Trial Lawyers When You Need It Most

3 times the police can legally search your property

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

You have the right to an expectation of privacy in your own home, whether you own your property or you rent an apartment. However, when police officers suspect you of involvement in criminal activity, they will have an interest in searching your property to look for evidence.

You have protection under the Fourth Amendment from unreasonable searches and seizures by government authorities, such as police officers. Understanding when the police can legally access your property could play a role in your defense against upcoming criminal charges.

When is it legal for police to search your property, meaning they can use the evidence they find against you in court?

When they have a warrant

The courts can give a police officer a warrant when they have a good reason to search your property. Some kind of evidence connecting you to criminal activity is typically necessary for a judge to agree that the police can enter your property and search for specific evidence. If officers do show up with a warrant, make sure to review it, as mistakes with the address or a lack of signature might make it invalid.

When they have probable cause

Police officers can search when they have probable cause to suspect criminal activity or a crime in progress. Hearing gunshots from outside of a building would be a reasonable justification for police officers to enter without a warrant.

Similarly, police officers can often enter a property when they pursue someone from a crime scene elsewhere. The nature of the criminal offense and the kind of property involved will determine whether the courts agree with the police officers that a hot pursuit was justification to enter private property.

When they have permission

Perhaps one of the most common reasons that police officers gain entry to private residences is obtaining permission from the person who answers the door. You may think that cooperating with the police will make you seem less suspicious, but once they gain access to your home, they can keep searching if they find any signs of illegal activity even if you ask them to leave.

If the police searched your property without a warrant, permission or probable cause, then you may be able to challenge the evidence that they gathered and prevent the prosecutor from using that evidence in your court case. Learning more about your rights as a criminal defendant can help you better respond to pending criminal charges.