Once police officers suspect that you’ve committed some kind of criminal activity, they may take aggressive steps to collect evidence against you. Often, searching your home will play a big part in the process of building a case against you.
You probably know that if police officers show up with a warrant, then you will have to grant them access in accordance with the scope of the warrant. When can the police legally gain access to your property if they don’t have a warrant?
When they have probable cause
Police officers can enter private property without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe a crime is underway. Something that police officers see, hear or even smell could be justification for them entering a property without a warrant. In some cases, they may also enter private property as part of a pursuit, although the Supreme Court has limited such entries.
When they have permission
Either you or anyone who lives with you might make the mistake of letting police officers come into the house. Once the police have permission to enter, they will likely look for any excuse to conduct a search. Anything in your home that implies involvement in criminal activity might eventually lead to a full-scale search, even if you did not give permission for the search.
Sometimes, police officers try to conduct searches in violation of someone’s rights. If they do, their actions may lead to a defendant challenging the evidence they gathered later in court and its exclusion from their trial. Knowing more about your rights can help you plan for your criminal defense strategy if you face charges.