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What to Do If the Police Want to Search Your Home

The 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens from the police unlawfully searching their home or seizing any contents within without obtaining a valid warrant, or having sufficient probable cause. Though most police officers are educated on a person’s 4th amendment rights, at times they still try to search homes without probable cause or a warrant. If the police show up at your residence wishing to search your home, immediately contact your Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer. Read on to learn what you should do if the police want to search your home.

Police Home Search Overview
A home is defined as the dwelling place a person lives within. It may consist of a house that a person owns or rents, an apartment, or condominium. It also includes a hotel room or a boat. A home is a place that you live, sleep, and return to and from after outings.

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As mentioned above, the police need a valid search warrant to search your home. A search warrant is a court order that authorizes the police to search a limited aspect of your home (interior or exterior). The police must provide the judge with evidence of a crime occurring within your home (probable cause). If the judge is convinced by the evidence that a crime has occurred, a warrant will be issued to examine that specified evidence.

For example, if the police present credible evidence that a crime is occurring in your basement, the warrant issued would only allow the police to search the basement of your home. It would be unlawful for the police to search the attic or any bedrooms.

Now, if the police enter a dwelling on a warrant that authorizes them to search the master bedroom for evidence of a crime, and the police visually observe cocaine on the coffee table while walking to the bedroom, the police can seize this evidence under the plain view doctrine and place a person under arrest.

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As an alternative to obtaining a warrant, the police may also enter a person’s home to conduct a search if the following occurs:

A person provides the police with consent to search his home.

The police search a person’s home after arresting him to make sure there is no one there that poses a threat to the police or destroying evidence

The police may search a person’s home under exigent circumstances. If there is an immediate threat of someone getting hurt, or if a person is in danger inside their home, the police do not need a warrant to enter.

What to Do If the Police Want to Search Your Home
If the police come to your home with a search warrant, ask to see the warrant. As you review the warrant, ask the police officers the area within your home they seek to search. Make sure it is clearly identified on the warrant. Allow the police to search the specified area of your home. Remain silent and stay calm. If possible, record the police searching your home with your smartphone, or write down the contents in which they search and seize. If the police search an area not listed in the warrant, make sure you write this down and record it if possible.

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If the police come to your home without a warrant, tell them that they are NOT allowed to search your home. Immediately contact your Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney. What if the police insist on searching your home, and unlawfully enter your residence to conduct a search? Call your Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer to examine the items seized. Also, file all the necessary paperwork to have it excluded as evidence if you are later charged with a crime.

Hire A Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime as a result of an unlawful search of your home, contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney for legal advice and guidance. A criminal defense attorney can review the nature of your case and provide you with legal representation. An experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney can work towards getting the charge asserted against your reduced or completely dismissed.

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Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney