Search Warrant Laws and Allowances
If the police are at your doorstep one fine day and insist on searching your home, ask if the officer has a search warrant. It is legally not proper to search one’s home without having a warrant issued for it. Search warrants are court orders that are obtained by the law enforcement officer to search for certain objects at a particular property on a certain date.
Searching Your Home
Note that just having a search warrant does not make it possible for the police officer to search your property. The warrant should be stating what will be searched in your property; if the police officer can search your garage, your entire home, or just a part of your house. Remember that if the officer finds, during the search of your property, an illegal object that is not specified in the search warrant, the officer still has the right to take you to court. You can fight in the court by hiring a lawyer, but the chances of winning the case will be slim.
It is essential to know certain laws pertaining to searching your home. Always check if the officer has a warrant and read through it well, so that the police are not able to misuse their rights.
Obtaining Search Warrants
When a police officer or a law enforcement officer obtains a warrant for searching an individual’s property, he/she convinces the magistrate or the judge that there is a probable cause for doing so. The police have to provide written statements reporting their observations, their undercover informants observations or the observations of the private citizens. If the magistrate or the judge thinks that the cause is enough to issue a warrant, the search warrants will be issued.
The suspect is not present when the warrant is issued and therefore cannot challenge the issue of the probable cause at the time. The suspect has the right to contest the validity of the search warrants before the trial.
Permitting a Warrantless Search
Legally a search warrant may not always be necessary. If a police officer goes to search your property without a warrant, it is advisable to not get into any arguments, and not try to stop the police officer from searching. However, make sure that you tell the police officer clearly that you are not consenting to the search of your property. Later you can allow the court to decide if the actions of the police officer were legal.
The police officer has the right to search without a warrant after an arrest. The officers have the right to protect themselves by looking for weapons that the arrested person might have hidden in his house. They also can protect the legal case against the arrested person by searching for evidence that the suspect might want to destroy.
If the evidence is in plain view, the police have the right to search without a warrant. For instance, if someone is growing marijuana outdoors and the police see it from a helicopter, the officer can search legally without search warrants.