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What is a warrantless search?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Most people know that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects from unreasonable search and seizure. They might not realize that most, but not all, searches require a search warrant signed by a judge. 

There are a few exceptions to the requirement of a search warrant. Understanding these might help you to determine your steps after the warrantless search

When can police search without a warrant?

One of the primary reasons the police won’t need a search warrant is that you consent to search. They don’t have to take the time to get a warrant if you give them this approval. 

They also don’t need a search warrant if they conduct a felony arrest in a public place. The only requirement, in this case, is that the officer had probable cause to believe that the person had committed a crime. They may also conduct a warrantless search if they make a lawful arrest. 

Another time police may not need a warrant to search is when there is ongoing criminal activity. There are limits to this type of search. For example, the officer can ask for identification, but the individual might not have to relay the information. Officers may only be able to check outer clothing for weapons. Roadside checkpoints and some reasonable suspicion traffic stops may also lead to warrantless searches. 

Regardless of your interaction with the police, you should ensure that you evaluate your defense strategy if you’re facing criminal charges. Your actions and the police officer’s actions may play roles in your defense, so be sure you’re discussing your case with someone familiar with these matters. 

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