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

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

Asked on July 18, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 6 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.


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