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Can police perform a warrantless search of your home?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2020 | Criminal Defense

The fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution renders unreasonable searches and seizures as unconstitutional. It’s generally only lawful for law enforcement officers to search a person’s home under very few circumstances. Police can do so with a person’s consent, a search warrant or in urgent situations.

A law enforcement officer’s authority to search a person’s home is not all-encompassing, even if they procure a warrant. Its scope is instead limited. Police have restrictions as to what they may search.

Police officers don’t even have free reign to search an individual’s home in its entirety even if they consent to a search. A homeowner can place restrictions as to which spaces they’ll allow the police to access.

Even if a homeowner does consent to a search, they can withdraw such permission at any time. The search must cease immediately once an individual rescinds their consent. Any evidence that police find once a homeowner withdraws their consent may be inadmissible in court.

Police are generally allowed to conduct a full search of the room where a suspect’s arrest occurred. Law enforcement officers can generally look into, but not search adjoining rooms to make sure that no one is standing in wait to attack them. Police officers may also be allowed to do a protective sweep of the home to ensure they are out of danger if they have reasonable suspicion that other accomplices may be in the house.

Warrantless entries into a person’s home are almost always lawful if police have probable cause. Police officers must believe that they’re in hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect or intend to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence or a suspect’s escape to warrant them entering a home without a search warrant. Police can generally conduct a warrantless entry into a house if they fear that another law enforcement officer or someone inside of it is at risk of being hurt or losing their life.

Law enforcement is subject to limits as to when and where they can search for evidence in a person’s home. You’ll want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss police’s discovery of any potentially incriminating evidence from inside your Cumming home before they took you into custody. A Georgia lawyer will be able to let you know whether police lawfully acquired it and how this may impact your case.


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