Allowing Searches of Your Residence

Posted on: 29 January 2019

If you've found yourself behind bars after a search of your residence was carried out, your primary defense will be the legality of the search. Law enforcement personnel should follow the law to the letter when performing searches because failure to do so will result in the case being dismissed and the charges dropped. Read on for what you need to know about the legality of searches to your residence.

Law Enforcement Is at the Door

When a knock at the door turns out to be a police officer armed with a search warrant, your options are limited. Be sure to read the warrant, since some warrants have sharply defined areas that can be searched within your home or property. You must allow entry to law enforcement as long as the search warrant is legit and you are the owner or lessee of the property. You should understand that the existence of a warrant means that they have probable cause to search. A judge (or magistrate) only hands out warrants for good cause. When you find yourself in this position, you must seek legal help. Call a criminal law attorney immediately.

Law Enforcement Is at the Door Without a Warrant

In some cases, you might find out that the officer seeks entrance to your home but does not have a warrant. Warrants take time to be approved, unless it's an emergency. You should understand that you are not required to allow law enforcement access to your property when they show up warrant-less. If you do turn them away, however, they may return with a warrant. Contact an attorney for advice and support.

Law Enforcement Encounters Your Partner

When you are not home but your domestic partner is, they might have to allow law enforcement entrance with a search warrant. Depending on how much time your love interest spends at your home, they might be perceived as acting in your stead. If your partner lives in the home, they are on equal ground with you as far as a search warrant with your address on it goes. Others that live in the home, even those that are not on the lease or mortgage, may be compelled to admit law enforcement with a legal warrant for a search.

Law Enforcement Encounters Your Guests

A different situation occurs if you have temporary house guests. Someone just visiting your home for a short stay can refuse law enforcement entrance to the home. However, if the warrant specifies the property of the guest then they must comply. For example, law enforcement might have a warrant to search your guest's purse, luggage, or other belongings.

If you feel that an illegal search was conducted in your home and it led to your arrest, speak to a criminal defense lawyer right away.