Can a police officer search my purse in my home if 911 was called and I was unconscious?

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Can a police officer search my purse in my home if 911 was called and I was unconscious?

Asked on February 21, 2011 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While you should consult with a criminal defense attorney about this, since the specific circumstances are critical, as a general matter, this would seem to be a case where the officer may do so. Police can enter or search property when (1) they are invited in and (2) when there is an exig4ency or emergency--for example, an officer can kick down a door if he or she seems flames and smoke, to see if anyone needs to be rescued, and if they saw illegal activity in the process, could act on it. In this case, if you were unconscious after a 911 call, there are many leglitimate reasons which would justify an exigent search: looking for medication, drugs, or another substance that resulted in your unconsciousness, since finding it could facilitate treatment; looking for emergency contact, idenitifying, or "medi-altert" information, etc. If there are legitimate grounds to look, the police should be able to use whatever they find.


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