If officers don’t have a warrant, do they need consent to search separate structures on the property?

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If officers don’t have a warrant, do they need consent to search separate structures on the property?

My fiancee and I were stopped and the police found some marijuana and bootleg DVD’s. They asked us both to consent to searching the house which we rent. I said they had to ask my roommate; he gave consent. After searching the residence they only found paraphernalia. Then without consent, they continued on to a separate structure (garage) where they searched a locked vehicle and found some more marijuana. Whose consent did they need without a warrant? Also, didn’t they need consent for each separate structure that they searched?  Should we speak with a criminal law attorney? In Scott County, IA.

Asked on April 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are on the right path but understand there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement and once officers find certain items in one structure and for their safety, they actually may have the authority without a warrant to look into adjoining structures like the garage. The locked vehicle might be a tricky item and since it was locked and not being operated, a search warrant may indeed have been needed but you should absolutely contact a criminal defense attorney to at least review the police report, the items seized, the arrest report and what was searched, If your criminal defense attorney is experienced and well-verses in 4th Amendment Search and Seizure constitutional arguments, knows in and out the exemptions and exceptions and know how to argue these, any evidence obtained from certain areas may be suppressed and if that evidence formed the basis of the charges, then the attorney will move that no probable cause exists now to move on with the charges and will seek that the charges be dismissed, as well.


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