Must the police have warrants to arrest you and then search your home?

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Must the police have warrants to arrest you and then search your home?

The police came onto my posted private property, in my backyard and came onto my porch without an arrest or search warrant. They then arrested

me and searched my home. Is this legal?

Asked on November 3, 2018 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances.
An arrest warrant is not needed if the police observe you doing something illegal, another person credibly reports you are in the process of or just did something illegal, or if you were seen doing something illegal but fled the seen of the crime and the police pursued you or responded to an address where someone indicated you were at. 
A search warrant is not needed in certain situations, such as if there is good cause to believe there was a threat to other people, unsecured contraband, for officer safety (e.g. to clear a property where you are being arrested, to make sure there is not another person there who may threaten the police), to make sure evidence is not destroyed or removed, or similar urgent circumstances.
So without more information, we cannot say whether this arrest and search were valid or not--but we can say that there are circumstances in which they would have been.


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