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When can a warrantless search happen?

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2022 | Criminal Defense

As many people know, police usually need a warrant to enter their homes. A warrant is a legal order signed by a judge that gives police the right to enter and search a location, whether it be a car, home or outdoor location, for evidence of a crime. Even if the police can obtain a warrant, they’ll only be limited to the location specified in that legal order.

Yet, under certain conditions, the police may search a property without a warrant. How can this happen? This is what you should know:

When you willingly let police take a look

The most straightforward way for police to enter a home or vehicle is by asking permission from a resident or property owner. While there’s likely no reason for a resident or property owner to allow the police to enter their home, many people do so because they believe they aren’t acting against the law.

When the police have clear evidence of an illicit act

One way law enforcement can search a location is if there’s evidence of an illicit act in plain view. This could mean that the police were in clear view while being on public property, of a drug deal or gun trade However, there must still be probable cause for the police to enter a property.

When public safety is on the line

In some rare cases, law enforcement may search a property if there’s a belief that public safety is on the line. This could mean police heard screaming or something breaking within a home. Alternatively, there may even be an observation that evidence of an illicit crime is being destroyed, which may lead to a search.

If police entered your home without a warrant, leading to a criminal charge, then you may need to know your legal options when creating a defense.