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What You Should Do if the Police Want to Search Your Home


If a police officer knocks on your door and asks if he/she can search your home, what should you do in this situation? Fortunately, you have certain rights that can protect you.

First, ask the officer if he/she has a warrant to search your home. If law enforcement searches your home without a warrant, you can file a motion to suppress the evidence with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If the judge grants the motion, the officer is prohibited from using evidence gathered from your home against you.

The Fourth Amendment allows you to refuse a police search on your home without a warrant. However, if the police it is necessary to search your home to prevent harm to another person or property, they may search your home. Additionally, if they have a plain view of something unlawful in your home, law enforcement is permitted to perform a search.

If there is another occupant at your home while you’re not present, consent depends on your relationship to that person. For example, a spouse can provide consent to a warrantless police search. On the other hand, a roommate can only provide consent to search common areas (i.e. the living room or kitchen) but not your bedroom. A visitor or a housekeeper are not allowed to provide consent.

If law enforcement does have a warrant, they can conduct a search without your consent. Keep in mind, do not allow them to search your home until they show you the warrant, which should detail the specific location of the search, as well as the areas and objects in your home they are required to search for.

If the police attempt to search your home without presenting a warrant, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Santa Barbara, contact our experienced legal team at Appel & Morse today.

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