When Search Warrants Aren’t Needed
The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects all of us from unlawful searches and seizures; in other words, law enforcement officials cannot look through or take your private belongings without due cause. In most cases, they are required to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they can search your home or vehicle. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
When you have been arrested or accused of a crime, it can be difficult to decide what steps to take next. You need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to offer advice and guidance. If you need legal assistance for yourself or a family member, call the Champaign criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices by calling (217) 328-6000 today.
Grounds for Warrantless Searches
Under the law, police officers may be allowed to search through your private belongings in the following circumstances:
- When permission is granted. Police do not need a warrant if you give them permission to conduct a search; however, you are under no obligation to give such consent. It is important to note that consensual searches are a controversial topic. For example, when there is more than one person in a residence, it may be unclear who is authorized to consent to a search.
- Emergency circumstances. Sometimes police have probable cause to believe that a person is in danger or that valuable evidence is about to be destroyed. In these cases, they may be able to enter and search an area even without permission.
- Searches made with arrests. When you are placed under arrest, police have the right to search you for any weapons or contraband items. If you are arrested while driving, they are also able to search the interior of your car. If they have probable cause to suspect that illegal items are in the car, they can conduct a full search (trunk, glove compartment, etc).
- Plain view. Police do not need a warrant to seize any evidence they see in plain view while legally visiting a certain area. For example, if you allow the police into your home to talk to you, they can seize any illegal items or potential evidence they see lying around.
Unfortunately, these legal exceptions can be easily abused by negligent or overzealous officers. Our Champaign defense lawyers can inform you of your rights and fight to protect them.