unconsented home search without a warrent

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unconsented home search without a warrent

Can a officer come into my home to search for someone without a warrent with out my consent?

Asked on June 17, 2009 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits officers from entering your home without a warrant.  However, the warrant requirement is subject to some exceptions.  The two main exceptions are either consent or exigent circumstances.  In your case, consent apparently does not apply.  With respect to exigent circumstances, some of the subcategories include the community caretaker exception and the emergency aid exception.  These exceptions apply to situations including but not necessarily limited to where someone inside the home is in immediate need of assistance, or where entry of the home is necessary to prevent destruction of life, limb, evidence, or property.  Determining whether an exception applies is usually a very fact specific inquiry, so without knowing more about the facts of your case it is impossible to determine whether the entry/search was, in this instance illegal.  However, if you wish to read up on this area of the law two supreme court cases that may give you a start are Payton v. New York as well as Bigham City v. Stuart.

Nevertheless, illegal entries/searches may potentially 1) expose the officer to civil liability, and 2) render evidence obtained from the search suppressed.  Therefore, if you feel your rights have been violated I strongly recommend consulting with and/or retaining an attorney that is experienced in the areas of criminal defense and civil rights law.


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