Is a search warrant always required?
Exceptions to the Search Warrant Requirement
- Consent – If police ask you if they can search your property and you agree, they can search your property without a warrant.
- Lawful Arrest – If you are legally arrested, the police have the lawful right to search your person and the area within your immediate control for any contraband, weapons, or other relevant evidence.
- Vehicle Exception – Police can typically search your vehicle without a warrant if they have reasonable cause to believe that it holds evidence of a crime.
- Plain View – If police have the authority to search a certain location, they can seize any property of yours that is sitting in plain view in that location if they have probable cause to believe that it is evidence of a crime.
- Trash Search – Police can legally search any trash you leave outside of your residence and seize anything that could be used as evidence.
- Inspection – Police do not need to have a warrant to search your person or property at a designated inspection, such as a DUI checkpoint, border search, health inspection, or airport security search.
- Exigent Circumstance – Police do not need to have a search warrant to enter a structure in situations where a person faces imminent danger, a suspect will escape, or evidence faces imminent destruction.