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When do the police need a search warrant?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Police officers need a search warrant when looking for evidence within a property to be presented in court. The California Legislative Information has provided in-depth grounds when a judge or magistrate can issue a search warrant.

A search warrant can be used in different situations. This guide discusses three places when one is needed.


If the police believe your home has a stolen or embezzled property or one that can be used to commit a felony based on probable cause, they will get a warrant to search it.

Nonetheless, in some situations, the police may enter your home without a warrant or permission. For instance, if you give them consent to search the house, knowing they don’t have a warrant. 

Further, if the police have an arrest warrant for someone in your residence, who they are in hot pursuit of, they may enter without a search warrant. For example, if a fleeing suspect enters your home. Absent of a hot pursuit, they may need a search warrant plus the arrest warrant.

Business premises

If your business is part of a criminal investigation, the police will get a warrant to search the premises. Businesses that may have properties being used to commit a crime can be subjected to an investigation and a search.


The police need a lawful warrant to search a vehicle. However, if they believe with probable cause that a car has illegal property or evidence for a crime, they may search it without a warrant. An owner’s consent can also be used to search a vehicle without a warrant.

A search warrant allows the police to search a person, home, business or car. Nonetheless, they need to observe your rights. You should get more information to identify unlawful actions during a search.   


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