An arrest occurs when someone’s freedom is restricted, and they are not allowed to leave after being stopped by the police.
Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, private citizens are protected from seizures and unreasonable searches.
This means that the police must obtain a warrant from a court of law to be able to search either a person or their property legally.
Without this document, any evidence that is obtained will not be admissible in court.
How Is a Warrant Obtained?
When the police want to obtain a warrant in order to be able to conduct a search of a certain location and seize specific items at that place and at a specific time, they must present arguments to the judge.
The police must convince the judge that probable cause exists or that it is reasonable to believe that a crime has been committed.
Only the police have to present evidence and not the suspect since the suspect is not present when the warrant is issued.
The warrant is very specific as to the time and location where the search may take place and what items are being looked for.
It is so specific that a search warrant for a home will not allow the search to extend to the backyard.
Are There Instances Where a Warrant Is Not Required?
It is interesting to note that most searches actually take place without warrants being issued.
If there is probable cause, such as in cases where the suspect attempts to run away, when a gunshot can be heard from a different area of the house, or when the person in question makes an unexpected move, it is legal to conduct a search even if there has been no warrant issued.
A warrant is also not required when certain conditions are present, such as:
When There Is Consent
If the individual in question voluntarily agrees to have their person or property searched and when there is no coercion for this agreement, no warrant is required.
However, the police must make sure to inform the person that they do have a right to refuse the search.
If more than one person lives at a certain address, one of them cannot consent to the entire property being searched since other areas of the home may be occupied by the other residents.
Also, no one can consent to the search in the name of their spouse.
When Items Are in Plain View
Following the Plain View Doctrine, officers can legally search without a warrant any place and seize any evidence when it is clearly visible.
However, the police must have probable cause to believe that these items are indeed illegal.
In Connection With an Arrest
When someone is arrested for a crime, it is legal for the police to search this person in order to protect themselves.
They may search for weapons, look for accomplices to the crime, or seize evidence in order to prevent it from being destroyed.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you must reach out to a criminal defense lawyer to work on your case.
You do not want to risk not having legal representation and suffering the consequences of the charges.