When may you be searched?
While the law of search and seizure is very complex and often will depend on the facts and circumstances in a particular case you should not resist a search with force; however, neither should you consent, in general, to any search. If you do object to a particular search, advise the officer who is conducting it that you do not consent, that you do object to the search and ask him to identify himself.
In most cases involving search and seizure issues, “reasonableness” of the search is the legal test without a search warrant. If police officers arrive at your premises armed with a search warrant they may search only that portion or area authorized in the warrant itself. You are entitled to have a copy of the search warrant and a list of any items found and taken during the search.
Any extension of the search beyond the provision of the warrant would be unlawful, but, your remedy for this lies with the courts and the officer’s efforts should not be resisted with force.
What if you’re at home?
If you are arrested in your home, the officers may conduct a limited search of the immediate area where you are arrested without a search warrant. They may also check the rest of the house for any hidden accomplices. They may seize any contraband or stolen property or instrumentalities or evidence of a crime that they discover in plain view in any portion of the house where the officers have a right to be.
What if you’re in a car?
When you are arrested while driving your automobile, the officer may make a limited search of your car at the time for the purpose of discovering weapons which might be used against them. They may not make a general search of your automobile unless there is a probable cause that the vehicle is carrying the fruits or instrumentalities of a crime or contraband.
Your automobile may also be impounded and inventoried if there is no qualified licensed driver or towing agent to take care of it. If an officer is about to impound your car, tell him that you have a relative or friend that will come get it, or that you have a preference of your own station, etc., to tow your car.
If you believe you have been illegally searched or you have further questions about search and seizure, contact our team to help. We want to ensure you have a strong team behind you, fighting for the protection you deserve.