As an American citizen, you have the right to be free from unreasonable
“searches and seizures” by law enforcement under the Fourth
Amendment of the Constitution. If the police show up to your doorstep
claiming they would like to look around, you are legally allowed to refuse
their request. While the police may override your privacy concerns and
conduct a search of your home, car, office or bank account, they may only do so if:
- The police have probable cause to believe they can find evidence than you
committed a crime and a judge issues a warrant, or
- The circumstances justify a search without a warrant
When Is a Warrant Not Required?
Depending on the situation, the police can perform a search without a warrant.
Below are a few examples of when a warrant is not required:
#1: Consent: If you voluntarily agree to a search of your property, without being
coerced or tricked, the police can search without a warrant. However,
you do not have to consent to a search, even though police may not inform
you of this information. You have the right to refuse search and seizure.
#2: The Plain View Doctrine: A police officer can legally search an area and seize evidence if it is
clearly visible. For example, if an officer looks into your car and sees
an illegal automatic rifle in the backseat, a search can be conducted
without a warrant. However, the police must still have probably cause.
In addition, if officers see an illegal act occurring outside of your
home or car, they may perform a search of your home or car without a warrant.
#3: Search Incident to Arrest: A police officer does not need a warrant to perform a search if you have
been arrested. The police have the legal right to protect themselves,
which gives them the right to search for weapons or evidence that could
#4: Exigent Circumstances: If an officer feels that the time to get a warrant would threaten public
safety or result in the loss of evidence, they can perform a search without
a warrant. For example, the police can forcibly enter your home if you
are inside destroying evidence or trying to escape.
If you believe a search of your property was done illegally, please contact our
Long Island personal injury lawyers today.
Call (386) 253-4750 or contact us online
for a free consultation.