In order to lawfully enter and search your home, law enforcement must first obtain a warrant signed by a judge, which outlines the specific areas in which police can conduct the search and the type of evidence they're looking to uncover. Although the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizures, there are exceptions that allow police to enter and conduct a search in the absence of a warrant.
If you or the person in charge of the property gives consent without being conned or tricked into doing so, police can conduct a search without a warrant. Although consent can be interpreted broadly, it typically covers the common living areas such as your living room and kitchen. Without a warrant, police cannot enter your bedroom, bathroom, or other private rooms. If police are at your home without a warrant and ask if they can search your property, you are not obligated to agree to the search – you can politely state that unless they have a warrant, they cannot come into your house.
If a police officer spots evidence pertaining to a crime or criminal activity while lawfully on your property, they can seize the contraband without a warrant. For example, if officers are at your apartment answering a burglary call and can spot cocaine in your apartment through the window, they can search your residence and seize the drugs as evidence.
Oftentimes, when police are placing an individual under arrest, they will do what is known as a “protective sweep.” During a protective sweep, police will search rooms and surrounding areas to try and uncover weapons or accomplices who may be hiding. A protective sweep should not take any longer than the time it takes to place an individual under arrest.
If you’ve been arrested or are being investigated for a crime, don’t hesitate to contact a proven Kansas City criminal defense attorney from Rokusek Stein Law, LLC. An arrest is not a conviction and there is still time to build the defense you need to safeguard your future.