A search warrant is an order, signed and granted by a judge, which gives officer permission to enter a specific location to look for specific objects and materials that are outlined in the warrant. As with most rules, however, there are exceptions – in this blog, we share when it is not required for police to have a warrant before searching a home.
If There is Consent
If the person in charge of the property gives the police consent voluntarily, a search warrant is not required. Police are only allowed to search the area that the consenting individual agreed to. Courts typically find that by giving consent, police are not required to ask for permission to search every room. It’s found that agreeing for police to conduct a search is broad enough to justify the search, as long as police interpret the consent in a manner that’s considered “reasonable” – consenting to a search of the house may not include cars, backyard sheds, or any areas outside the residence.
If Contraband is in Plain View
Any sighting of criminal evidence or contraband that is in plain view does not require a warrant to be seized. What does the law mean by “plain view”? If authorities are lawfully present in an area and spot something that they recognize as evidence, they can conduct a search and seizure without a warrant.
If it’s in Connection With an Arrest
Police are allowed to do a “protective” sweep after they’ve made an arrest. In a protective sweep, arresting officers will do a quick search in the area where the arrest occured in an effort to find any hiddin accomplices. These areas can include under beds, inside closets, and behind couches.
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