Can an officer search my home without a warrant?

A undercover cop and a DHS worker came to my home. They asked to enter and I said yes but the undercover cop began searching my home without my permission, even going through my underwear drawer. Is this legal?

Asked on May 8, 2017 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The law is clear that the police need a search warrant before they can enter and search a person's home. However, there are 4 exceptions to this rule: 1. Consent - if the owner or person who is in control of the property allows the search without being forced/tricked into doing it; 2. Plain View - if the police already have the right to be on your property and contraband/evidence of a crime is visible, then it may be seized; 3. Search Incident to Arrest - if you are being arrested in your house, the police may search for weapons/other accomplices to protect their safety and/or prevent the destruction of evidence; 4. Exigent Circumstances - this refers to emergencies whereby obtaining a search warrant could compromise public safety or lead to a loss of evidence. In your case, it is not clear just what justification the police are using regarding the search of your home. At this point, you should consult directly with a criminal law attorney. After going over all of the details of your situation, they can best advise you further.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The law is clear that the police need a search warrant before they can enter and search a person's home. However, there are 4 exceptions to this rule: 1. Consent - if the owner or person who is in control of the property allows the search without being forced/tricked into doing it; 2. Plain View - if the police already have the right to be on your property and contraband/evidence of a crime is visible, then it may be seized; 3. Search Incident to Arrest - if you are being arrested in your house, the police may search for weapons/other accomplices to protect their safety and/or prevent the destruction of evidence; 4. Exigent Circumstances - this refers to emergencies whereby obtaining a search warrant could compromise public safety or lead to a loss of evidence. In your case, it is not clear just what justification the police are using regarding the search of your home. At this point, you should consult directly with a criminal law attorney. After going over all of the details of your situation, they can best advise you further.


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