The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from “unreasonable searches
and seizures” by requiring police to establish probable cause in
order to search someone’s home. In order to establish probable cause,
they must present their case before a judge, who will then issue a search
warrant to them if they believe that their concerns and need to search
is valid. If they fail to do so, then any evidence that is collected by
an unauthorized or illegitimate search is considered inadmissible in court
and cannot be used against you, no matter how damaging it may be.
However, many people are unaware that the police do not always have to
go through this potentially lengthy process in order to search you, your
home, or your car. In certain circumstances, law enforcement may simply
take the initiative to collect evidence that
is admissible without going through the process of obtaining a warrant. Let’s
take a look at these four exceptions to this general rule now.
If you give law enforcement permission to search you, your home, or your
car, then any evidence they may find against you is considered admissible
in court. The police may not tell you that you have the right to refuse
to allow them to search you, but you do, and it’s strongly advised
you exercise this right. That being said, this is a rare circumstance;
police cannot coerce you into allowing them to search you or your property,
and a housemate or spouse cannot allow the police to search anything more
than the common areas of your home (bedrooms or other private areas are
still off limits without your permission).
To put it simply, if you leave evidence in plain sight where anyone can
see it, law enforcement does not need a search warrant to obtain the evidence.
For example, if you are pulled over by police because your vehicle matches
the description of a getaway car used in a bank robbery, police do not
need a search warrant to arrest you and claim the gun you leave sitting
on the passenger seat as evidence. No reasonable person would expect something
sitting in plain view to be considered private, and as such, police may
use it as evidence.
Incident to Arrest
If the police arrest you in your home, police may search the remainder
of your home for any threats to their safety, such as accomplices or weapons.
They may also search for evidence of your crime in order to protect it
and prevent an accomplice from returning to destroy it before they are
able to obtain a warrant.
If your actions constitute a legitimate threat to public safety, or police
fear that any delay could cause the evidence against you to be lost, then
they may arrest you and search without obtaining a warrant. One good example
of this is a DUI test: police do not need a warrant to “search”
you because you will likely have sobered up by the time they are able
to procure one. Instead, you are required to submit to a BAC test at the
time of your arrest.
If you have been arrested and had your property or person searched by police,
you should immediately review all case details with a Bakersfield criminal
defense attorney. At
Campbell Whitten, nobody works harder to fight back against your charges and clear your
name. Our team understands how difficult it can be facing criminal accusations,
and we work hard to provide you with trustworthy counsel and fierce representation
throughout the process. Our attorneys have obtained numerous accolades,
including being named one of
Newsweek’s “14 Best Criminal Attorneys” in 2014 and one of the Top 100
Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.
Find out how we can help you! Call Campbell Whitten today at 661.735.1038 to
schedule your initial consultation and start fighting back now.