Posted By Law Office of Melvin L. Vatz || 27-Apr-2017
If you have watched pretty much any police drama on television, then you have likely heard the term “search warrant” used. You also probably know that this is something the police must obtain in order to search your home, thanks to the Fourth Amendment which protects all American citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Generally, these documents are issued by a judge when they deem the police have “probable cause” to believe that they will find criminal activity or evidence against someone by searching someone’s home, car, or possessions on their person. These warrants are usually specific, and must state the location and time the police are allowed to search, as well as what they are searching for. Anything found outside of these provisions is not eligible to be seized and used as evidence.
However, many people don’t know that the police don’t always need to have a warrant in order to search your home. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and knowing them can help you maintain your privacy should law enforcement ever wish to search your home. Let’s take a look at when police may search without a warrant.
Consent: The police do not need a warrant to search your property if you agree to allow them to do so. However, you cannot be tricked or coerced into allowing them to search. If you can prove that you were coerced into allowing them to search without a warrant, the evidence can still be suppressed.
Plain View: If you are accused of robbing a bank and you leave the gun you used during the crime on the passenger seat of your getaway car, the police don’t necessarily need a search warrant to confiscate and submit the gun as evidence. This is because you left the evidence in a place where you could not reasonably expect privacy; it was left in plain view.
Incident to Arrest: Do you have a warrant out for your arrest? Then police may search your home and obtain evidence if they are arresting you in your home. They often conduct searches in these instances to find weapons or other devices that could compromise their safety, but could also search if they believe you may attempt to destroy evidence against you.
Special Cases: If the police believe that obtaining a valid search warrant could lead to a loss of evidence or potential danger to public safety, then they do not necessarily need a warrant to search. For example, police may enter someone’s home and arrest them for DUI without a warrant because by the time they actually do obtain one, the evidence (your BAC level) will be gone.
Have you been arrested and believe the police may have illegally obtained evidence against you, call a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Melvin L. Vatz, we have nearly 40 years of legal experience we can put to work defending you. Attorney Vatz is an AV® Preeminent™ rated lawyer, one of the highest honors awarded by Martindale-Hubbell®, and can put his high-quality counsel on your side through every step of your case. Attorney Vatz reviews all of the facts in your case, and may be able to help protect you from the harsh penalties you are facing through a wide variety of defense strategies.
Facing criminal charges? Call the Law Office of Melvin L. Vatz today at 412-391-3030 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Categories: Criminal Defense