You have the right to privacy and enjoyment of your property. If, however, you are a person of interest in a criminal matter, the police might come knocking on your door. But what if they do not have a warrant? Can they go ahead and conduct a search on your property?
The general rule is that the Fourth Amendment protects you from unwarranted search and seizure. In other words, the police cannot simply walk into your home, conduct a search and leave with your property. However, there are special instances when this can happen. Here are two such instances:
When you voluntarily let them in
If you willfully allow the police to enter and search your property, the resulting search and seizure will be valid and any evidence obtained thereof could be admissible in court. However, do understand that if you share a living space with other people, then the search and seizure can only be valid if it’s done in the common area. Also, if there is evidence that the police tricked or coerced you into letting them into your property, then the search may be invalid.
When it’s an emergency
When the police reasonably believe that someone is in danger or that you are likely to destroy crucial evidence, they can enter and search your property without a warrant. For instance, if the police believe that a kidnap victim is in your home or that you are about to discard the evidence of drugs or other contraband, they can move swiftly to rescue the victim or seize the drugs in question.
A search and seizure are crucial components of any criminal investigation procedure. If the search and seizure is unlawful, however, you need to explore your legal options.