If there’s a police officer standing at your front door, it’s important to know your rights. The police officer may want to search your home in an attempt to gather evidence that can be used against you or another defendant. But, should you let the police search your home? Do you even have a choice? Here’s what you need to know:
Do Not Give Consent
If a police officer does not have a search warrant, then he will almost always need your consent to search your home. Police officers typically will not tell you that you have the right to refuse consent, which leads many people to believe that they have no choice. But, it’s important to understand that you are allowed to say no if a police officer asks for consent to perform a search.
Officers are allowed to enter and search your home if they have a warrant that gives them permission to do so. In order to obtain a search warrant, an officer must show a judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and evidence of this crime will be found inside your home.
If a police officer shows up at your home with a search warrant, ask him if you can look over the warrant before he begins the search. The search warrant will explain exactly what areas of your home can be searched. Make sure you carefully review the warrant to determine which areas are off-limits. For example, if the officer has a warrant to search the main residence on your property, he cannot enter the guest house on your property without obtaining another warrant.
Plain View Searches
Under certain circumstances, the officer can gather evidence from areas that are not included on the search warrant. For instance, let’s say a police officer has a search warrant for your home, but the warrant does include the back porch. If the police officer looks outside a window and sees drug paraphernalia sitting on a table on your back porch, he will be able to gather this evidence even though it was found in an area not listed on the warrant. Why? Because the evidence was in plain view.
The police also have the right to search your home without a warrant under “exigent circumstances.” If the police believe that someone’s safety is in danger or there’s a chance that evidence will be lost if they don’t move quickly, they can perform a search without waiting for a warrant or asking for consent.
Have you been charged with a crime? Get in touch with a criminal defense attorney at Reisch Law Firm today. Our team will protect your rights throughout the legal process and ensure that the police do not conduct unlawful searches of your property. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.