Are Search Warrants Always Necessary?

Americans are provided powerful legal protections by the Constitution, including the right to fair search and seizure. In most cases, police must strictly abide by the terms of the Fourth Amendment and thus obtain a warrant from the courts before they are allowed to search a person’s property. However, there are some instances in which this process can be bypassed. Although these situations are relatively uncommon, it is important for defendants to know and understand these exemptions. If, after all, a person is searched illegally, it could drastically affect his or her case.

When Are Search Warrants Not Required?

Under normal circumstances, the police are legally required to obtain a search warrant before they can collect evidence for a case. However, in the following situations, law enforcement officials may be able to collect evidence or conduct a search without violating a person’s Constitutional rights to a warrant:

  • If the search is consented to, and the person being searched can legally provide consent
  • If the property collected appears in the middle of an emergency situation
  • If the property collected is in plain view of the police, qualifying under the plain view doctrine
  • If the search occurs while the person is being arrested by the police

These conditions permit a search without a warrant. Otherwise, property found during searches committed without a warrant may not be used against a defendant.

Contact Us

If you’ve been charged with a crime and are facing aggressive prosecution, we may be able to help you fight for your freedom or work to get your sentencing reduced. To learn more about your options if you believe you’ve been wrongly searched by the police, contact the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today at (214) 845-7007.


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