One of the founding principles of our country is that of personal freedom. Citizens have the right to privacy in their home, work, and while traveling. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable government interference in their lives. This includes unsubstantiated searches. To search a person’s home, police must obtain a search warrant from a judge. While police are not always required to obtain a search warrant to search a person’s vehicle, there are still rules regarding when a vehicle search is appropriate and when it is not. An officer who searches a residence or vehicle without the proper criteria being met is conducting an unlawful search. Evidence obtained from an illegitimate search is often not admissible in a court of law.
What Are My Rights to Privacy in My Home?
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” This amendment limits the authority of police and government officials in order to protect citizens’ privacy and prevent baseless searches. If police wish to search your home for evidence of a crime, they must obtain written permission in the form of a search warrant. Police must convince a judge that there is reason to believe that evidence of a crime exists in a home in order to receive a search warrant.
When Can Police Search My Home Without a Warrant?
Although generally required, there are instances in which a police search can take place in a home without a search warrant. If you voluntarily give police permission to search your home, they can do so without a warrant. It is important to remember that you always have the right to politely decline searches of your personal property. The police may search it anyway, but doing so could put them at risk of conducting an unlawful search and having any evidence obtained through the search dismissed in court. Police automatically have the right to search a home if evidence of criminal activity is in plain view. For example, if officers can see drugs or stolen items from windows or while standing at the front door, this may be reason enough to conduct a warrantless search. Individuals who are being arrested also give up their right to privacy and police may search their belongings without a warrant. Lastly, police may search a home without a warrant if they believe waiting for a judge to issue a search warrant would endanger public safety or lead to the loss of evidence.
Facing Charges? Let us Help.
If you believe police have searched your property without meeting the required criteria, you should discuss your case with a qualified Joliet criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today by calling 815-740-4025.