A person is entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their home and is protected against the unlawful search and seizure of items inside their home. However, there are times when a person is arrested and charged with a crime because of something inside their home, even though the police didn’t have a warrant to search the home. It’s crucial to hire a lawyer at this point to determine the legality of the search.
When Are Searches Legal?
Items found inside a home can be used as evidence if they were found in plain view or if the officer was given permission to search the home without a warrant. However, items found outside the legal scope of the search may be suppressed because they were unlawfully obtained.
- Plain View Doctrine – If an officer is inside a home on official business, for example, to stop a fight inside the home or investigate a burglary, and they see anything illegal inside the home without searching for it, they might be able to seize the evidence. A common example is where the officer enters the home to handle a 911 call and finds drugs on the coffee table in plain view.
- Searching With Permission – The officer must have the permission of the homeowner to search the home without a warrant. The person may be able to limit the search to a certain area of the home, but offering permission gives the officer the chance to look through the home without the restrictions a warrant might have.
What Does a Suppression of Evidence Mean?
If the officer searches the home without a warrant or permission and seizes items that were not in plain view, the search may be unlawful. This means that anything seized during the search may not be able to be used in court. If the evidence can be suppressed, that is, not able to be used in court, there may not be sufficient evidence for a conviction and the charges against the person may be dismissed.
If you’ve been arrested because of something found inside your home, take the time to speak with an attorney like Aric Cramer right away to determine if the search was legal. The laws surrounding search and seizure can be complex, so it can be difficult to determine this on your own.