Rules on Warrantless Searches
American citizens enjoy a certain number of special legal protections under the Fourth Amendment that require police to present a valid search warrant before searching their property. If the police conduct a search without a warrant, anything they find may be discarded from the prosecution of that defendant in a criminal trial. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, providing police with a few instances in which warrantless searches are permissible.
When Warrants Aren’t Needed to Search
Police will usually need to obtain a warrant before they’re allowed to search a person or their property for evidence. Until the warrant is served, anything found in a search will be considered illegally obtained and outside the prosecution’s hands. However, the following instances may provide for warrantless searches:
- If the property taken by the police was in plain view of a law enforcement officer
- If the property taken by the police was collected during an emergency, such as a health crisis or during a chase
- If the person being searched or the property owner can and does consent
- If the person being searched is being arrested
Outside of these instances, the police are required to present a search warrant before taking action and confiscating property. If defendants can prove that no warrant was served when it should have been, this can often seriously weaken a prosecutor’s case against them.
If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges and are facing tough prosecution, our legal team at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., can help you explore powerful defense strategies to fight for your freedom or reduced sentencing. To learn more about your rights and options as a defendant, call (408) 296-4100 today.