Can the police look anywhere in a home with a search warrant?

If the cops have a warrant to search your house, they can look anywhere that the warrant permits them to look. This may seem like an incredibly broad answer, but the scope of any warrant is limited or expanded by the authorization contained within the warrant. When the officers come to your door, ask to see the warrant in advance and have them point out the section which identifies your house. If you live in apartment 1-A, but the warrant is for apartment 1-B, politely direct the officers to the next apartment. Believe it or not, law enforcement have been known to read warrants incorrectly and search the wrong house by accident.

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What is the knock and announce rule?

The knock and announce rule is a legal rule mandating that police cannot just break down someone’s door in order to execute a search warrant. Under the knock and announce rule, police need to knock on the door, announce their authority to search the premises and wait a reasonable period of time before they enter. Only if a person fails to allow a search after the police identify themselves can the police forcibly come in.

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Can a girlfriend or boyfriend give consent to search your house?

Generally, no, a girlfriend or boyfriend does not have the legal authority to allow someone to search your personal belongings. The test would be whether the person giving the consent to the police has an equal right to use the premises. Whether or not someone has an equal right may be inferred from the circumstances.

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Do police have the right to enter a home if one spouse gives consent but the other does not?

Generally, law enforcement officers do not have the right to enter a house without a search warrant when the wife gives consent but the husband does not. The most pertinent case regarding this subject is a U.S. Supreme Court case, Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006). In this case, the court ruled that one co-occupant’s consent to a search does not negate another co-occupant’s right to refuse consent.

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Seizing Evidence from a Home: Police Procedure

The U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions set rules on when and how the police can seize evidence. General constitutional principles are usually defined in each state’s rules of criminal procedure. Usually a warrant is required to seize evidence. However, the Supreme Court has identified consent as an exception to this rule.

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