Many people have heard about police officers coming to search a home or business. If you are ever faced with this situation, you need to know about your constitutional rights. According to the Fourth Amendment, you have very specific rights when the police want to enter your business or your home to conduct a search.
The bottom line is that the authorities can’t conduct a search or seizure if it is unreasonable. One way that this is assured is that they typically need to have a search warrant if they are going to enter. There are exceptions to the need for a search warrant. For example, if the officer makes an arrest and needs to search for weapons, the search will likely be considered a lawful one.
When the officer wants to conduct a search of a property, they are likely going to ask you if they can have your permission. If you decline that request, they will need to obtain a search warrant. Any search is legal if you give your permission for it to be conducted.
Another exception to the need for a search warrant is if you don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy. This means that if you have drugs sitting in the passenger seat of the car, which is in plain view through the window, the cop can see the drugs and can seize them because you don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy through a clear window.
It is always a good idea to exercise your rights if you are being asked to allow a search or being presented with a search warrant. You should also invoke your right to have an attorney present with you if you are being detained or arrested.