The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizures, but as with most rules, there are exceptions. In some cases, authorities can conduct a search without filing for a warrant. In this blog, our Dallas criminal defense attorney explains when a warrant is not needed to conduct a search.
If you, or the person in charge of the property voluntarily gives consent to the search, the police can enter and conduct a search without a warrant. Law enforcement will usually fail to mention that you have every right to refuse the search in the absence of a warrant. Keep in mind, however, that they can only search what you consented to. For example, if you agree with a search of the living room and bedrooms, the police cannot go into your garage and search the inside of your vehicle.
If the police can spot criminal contraband or evidence in what’s referred to as “plain sight,” he or she does not need a warrant to enter the house or building in order to seize the materials. The officer must already have permission to be on the property where the evidence was spotted. For example, if the police answer an assault call and can see drugs on the coffee table through the window, they can enter the home and conduct a search.
Incident to an Arrest
Authorities will usually do a protective sweep of an area if it’s in connection of an arrest that has just been made. Typically, a protective sweep is used to find any hidden accomplices or weapons. The search should be done quickly and take no longer than the time it took to place a suspect under arrest.
If you’ve been arrested or are being investigated for a crime, you should not wait another moment to begin building the defense you need to safeguard your future. Call Dallas criminal defense Attorney Peter Barrett at (214) 307-8667 or contact the firm online to schedule a free consultation.