Frequently Asked QuestionsIsn’t a warrant required for the police to search me?
In general terms, a warrant is required for police to initiate a search. If a police officer comes to your home, a warrant will be required to take you into custody. However, if the officer has reason to think you might run, destroy evidence or harm someone else, he can arrest you at home without a warrant.
If an arrest takes place somewhere other than your home, the following circumstance dictate that a warrant is not necessary for search:
- Consent – While you are not required to consent to any police searches, a warrant is not required if you consent to a search of your body, your vehicle, or your home. You always have the right to say no to search and make the police get a warrant or use their discretion to search, which can be challenged in court
- Searches incident to arrest – When making an arrest, a law enforcement officer is permitted to search your body and/or clothing for weapons or other contraband.
- Vehicle searches – If you are in a vehicle and are stopped for questioning, the police still need probable cause to conduct a complete vehicle search that includes locked trunks, glove or other compartments.
- Exigent circumstances – Searches may be conducted if there are “exigent circumstances,” for example, if the officer believes evidence may be destroyed unless he takes immediate action.
- Plain view – When police see an object that is in plain view, a search warrant is not needed.
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