Anybody who has ever watched a television procedural or legal thriller likely imagines themselves as something of an expert on criminal law and the need for a warrant before police can conduct a search. Though the challenges and time delays involved in getting a warrant to make for great cliffhangers, the truth is that warrantless searches happen all the time: in fact, they’re the most common type of search that’s done.
How can that be? It’s all a question of whether law enforcement’s actions are seen to be reasonable, and reasonableness is defined as it is their judgment that there was a good reason to be suspicious of criminal activity.
The legal system has conducted countless reviews of the many circumstances under which police might want to conduct a search without a warrant. The best protection if you’ve been a victim of a warrantless search is to have a criminal law attorney representing you and to know your rights. Some of the times that warrantless searches are allowed include:
If you find yourself subject to a warrantless search, it’s important that you make it clear that you do not consent to the search. Even if they don’t listen to you, doing so gives your criminal law attorney a good chance of fighting the admission of evidence found during a warrantless search.