May 18, 2012 By Matthew Wallin

When law enforcement searches your home

Being subjected to a search is nothing less than humiliating. Not only are officers rummaging through one’s personal belongings; they generally place those whose home is about to be searched in custody. You may feel as though you have no rights during such a procedure, but you most certainly do.

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. When officers search your property they are required to have a valid search warrant that is signed by a judge, and specifies the area and items that will be their focus. The warrant must be based on probable cause.

There are two major exceptions to the requirement for a warrant, however. One is exigent circumstances. If, for instance, police officers are chasing a suspect and they observe him entering your home, they have a right to enter without a warrant. Exigent circumstances can involve an emergency as well. If officers hear shots fired from inside your home, they may be able to enter without a warrant because there is a potential that a life is in danger.

The second major exception to the warrant requirement occurs when the owner gives consent. If you are pulled over and officers ask if they can inspect your trunk, you do not have to give consent. However, if you do, they have a right to search it. Anything they find within is considered legally obtained.

Indeed, you may think that sometimes it is in your best interests to give consent to officers. After all, you have nothing to hide. However, legal experience suggests otherwise. There is really nothing to be gained from offering consent to officers. You are better off demanding a search warrant. Why would a person voluntarily allow himself to be placed in custody and removed from his property, only to have officers go through the most personal of belongings?

If you are arrested after officers seize items from your property, you need experienced legal assistance. Call the Law Offices of Southern California criminal defense attorneys Wallin & Klarich at 1-888-280-6839.

AUTHOR: Matthew Wallin

Matthew B. Wallin is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Wallin & Klarich. He approaches each case as an opportunity to help an individual at a time when they need it most and understands that he is the one they have turned to for help.   Mr. Wallin has represented hundreds of our clients in cases involving DUI and DMV hearings, domestic violence, assault and battery, drug crimes, misdemeanors and serious felonies. With extensive experience handling DUI cases, Mr. Wallin is one of the premiere DUI defense attorney in Southern California.

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