Police Searches without Warrants
Under normal circumstances, Americans enjoy explicit legal protections from unlawful police searches. In unusual situations, though, the police may be entitled to search an individual or their property and legally use whatever they find as evidence in a criminal trial. It’s important for defendants to know when these searches are permitted, however. If the police overstep their search rights and fail to obtain a warrant when needed, their mistake could drastically affect a defendant’s criminal case.
When Are Warrantless Searches Allowed?
There are a few instances when the police are allowed to conduct a search of a person or their property without obtaining a proper search warrant first. These situations include the following:
- The individual is being arrested
- The individual freely consented to the search, and was able to provide consent
- The contraband seized was in plain view of a police officer, falling under what is known as the plain view doctrine
- The contraband appeared in an emergency situation
If a defendant was searched without any of these unusual circumstances in place, whatever the police find may not be considered admissible evidence against the defendant. This can sharply benefit a defendant’s case in many instances.
If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges but were subjected to an illegal search by the police prior to your arrest, there may be legal options available to argue this abuse of police power. To discuss how we may be able to help you fight for your freedom or have the charges against you reduced in severity, contact attorney James Powderly today at 508-343-0676.