If you have watched any crime drama on television or in the movie theater, you likely know that the police are usually required to present a warrant before conducting any search or seizure of person or property. In order to obtain a search warrant, officers must prove to a judge there is probable cause to suspect you of a crime.
Within the warrant, a judge will define a particular area that can be searched as well as specific items that can be seized. Police are not authorized to search any area outside of what is defined in the warrant unless they are acting to protect themselves or the public, or they are preventing the destruction of evidence.
Can police conduct a search without a search warrant?
There are situations where the police are able to conduct a search or seize evidence without first obtaining a search warrant.
- Consent – If an individual voluntarily agrees to the search of his or her property, a warrant is not required. You do have the right to refuse a search when there is no warrant, although it is wise to consult a defense attorney before making this decision.
- Plain View – If evidence is clearly visible, or police witness an illegal act, they do not need a warrant to conduct a search or seize evidence. For example, if you are pulled over and you have drugs on the seat next to you, the officer can legally search your vehicle.
- Exigent Circumstances – If the police believe that public safety is in jeopardy or evidence is being destroyed, they are not expected to wait for a warrant before acting. This includes the pursuit of a suspect who is trying to escape.
Know your rights
Whether you are innocent or guilty, Skip Potter is committed to serving all of his clients as the best defense attorney in Northwest Ohio. He will fight effectively, compassionately and aggressively for your rights. This includes obtaining dismissals for false accusations and minimizing the charges that you may be facing. In all situations, Skip Potter will help you get the best outcome in your case.