When Police Can Search Without a Warrant

In general, there are four situations when police can search your person, car or home without a warrant:

If you give consent. If the police ask for your permission to conduct a search and you agree, then a warrant is not necessary to conduct a search. You should never agree to a warrantless search until you have spoken with your criminal defense attorney!

If you have been arrested. If you are placed under arrest, an officer may search your person or the immediate area for any weapons that may potentially be used to harm an officer or for evidence to use against you. This is known as a search incident to an arrest. If they have a reasonable suspicion that there is an accomplice to the crime in your home, they may also enter and perform a cursory search. Any evidence that is in plain view may be confiscated for use against you.

If evidence is in plain view. If an officer finds evidence in your car, home or other property that is in plain view, they do not need a warrant to seize the evidence or contraband.

The emergency exception. If the police have a reasonable and immediate fear for their own safety or for the safety of someone else, they may conduct a legal search without a warrant. Officers may also conduct a search without a warrant if they feel that evidence is being destroyed or a suspect is attempting to escape.

Whether you are facing a serious federal white-collar prosecution, a state murder charge, or misdemeanor charges, The Cogdell Law Firm has the experience, knowledge and reputation you want for your legal team. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or info@cogdell-law.com.