You are sitting at home and you hear a knock on your door. When you open the door, you see a police officer, and he asks if he can search your home. What do you do?
To ensure your rights are protected, here are some important things to keep in mind when the police want to search your home.
You Have Rights
When the police come to your door, you need to remain calm. By maintaining a level head, you can keep your composure and ensure that your rights are not violated. The first thing you need to do is ask the officer if he or she has a warrant to search your home. The answer to this question will determine how you move forward.
Search Without a Warrant
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to refuse to let the police search your home. This is meant to protect citizens against illegal and unreasonable searches and seizures. You should always respectfully tell the police that you are exercising your Fourth Amendment right, even if you believe you have nothing to hide.
There are a few scenarios where police can search your home without a warrant. If police have reasonable belief that searching your home is necessary to prevent harm to another person or property, they may search your home. Additionally, if police see something illegal in plain view in your home or you are arrested in your home, the police are allowed to conduct a search.
Can Someone Else Consent to a Search of My Home?
Consenting to a police search of your home is a tricky situation when you are not present. Whether another person can provide consent to search your home depends upon your relationship to that person:
- It is within your spouse’s right to consent to a police search without a warrant
- A roommate can consent to a search of common areas like a kitchen or living room, but cannot consent to a search of your bedroom while you are not present
- In some circumstances, a child may consent to a search of his or her parents’ home
- A house guest or housekeeper cannot consent to a search
What if Police Search My Home without My Consent? (PC 1538.5)
If police search your home without a warrant and without any exigent circumstances, an experienced criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence under California Penal Code Section 1538.5.
If the motion is granted, the prosecution cannot use the illegal obtained evidence against you. Additionally, the officer may face a civil suit for entering your home illegally.
Search with a Warrant
Police can search your home without your consent if they have a search warrant, which is a document signed by a judge that states the court believes there may be some evidence of a crime in your house. The warrant will specify the location of the search and what areas and types of objects in your home the police can look for.
If police claim to have a warrant, be sure to ask to see the warrant before allowing them to conduct a search of your home. You do not have to permit law enforcement to search your property until they present you with a warrant. However, if the police attempt to search your home without legal justifications, do not engage in a physical altercation with them.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you believe an unreasonable or illegal search led to your arrest, you should contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal lawyers have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing criminal charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.