What Do I Do If the Police Want to Search My House?

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What Do I Do If the Police Want to Search My House?

It can be alarming when the police turn up at your door wanting to search your property. You may not know whether to let them in or call a criminal defense lawyer. Here's everything you need to know about what to do when the police want to search your home.

When Are the Police Allowed to Search Your Home?

The first thing you should know is that the majority of police searches require a search warrant obtained due to probable cause under the Fourth Amendment. That means the police can still enter your home and perform their search if they have a valid search warrant.

If they don't have a search warrant, the police can still search your home if you give them permission or informed consent based on a full understanding of their intention. Keep in mind that any other person in your home who has the authority to do so can grant the police permission to search your home if you're not around. Another instance when the police can search your home without a search warrant is when they strongly believe that the evidence they're looking for will disappear or get destroyed in the time that they take to get the search warrant. For instance, they may have reasonable suspicion that you have illegal drugs or weapons that you're planning to get rid of soon while they're busy trying to obtain a search warrant.

Do Search Warrants Have Any Limits?

Any limits to search warrants presented by the police apply to the search methods used, which areas in your home can be searched, and what they can seize. For instance, the police can't take your home computer without your consent if you share it with someone else even when the other party gives consent. In any case, a search warrant for your home does not equal a search warrant for your computer. So you have a right to refuse if the police want to search your computer unless they have a warrant for that.

The police are also allowed to only search areas in your home that are likely to contain the evidence listed in the search warrant. For instance, if they are looking for a large package, the police can only search the areas that are big enough to accommodate the package. In addition, they are not allowed to damage your property during the search unless it's absolutely unavoidable.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

You may need legal help if the police want to search your home. Did you know that the police can still discover something else construed as evidence which they can use against you even if they weren't originally looking for that evidence?  In some instances, you might want to recover items that have been seized in your home after a police search. Or you could find yourself detained or arrested. In that case, calling a criminal defense attorney is one of the best ways to navigate your way through a police search and the aftermath.

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Posted by anonymous November 11, 2016
November 11, 2016
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August 20, 2016
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December 21, 2015

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