Are the police allowed to search a bedroom if they only have an arrest warrant?

Asked on July 18, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, depending on the circumstances.

The fact is that the police don't need a warrant to make a search "incident to arrest". After an arrest, officers have the right to protect themselves by searching for weapons and to protect the legal case against the suspect by searching for evidence that the suspect might try to destroy. Accordingly, a search of the suspect and their surroundings following the arrest is generally allowable. So if you were arrested in or near your bedroom, then the search was legal, otherwise probaly not.

Another exception for which a warrant is not required is to seize evidence in "plain view", so long as the police are legitimately in the location from which the evidence can be viewed. So if you were arrested in your livingroom but your bedroom door was open and the police saw a weapon or contraban, then any search conducted as a consequence would be legal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.