Hoe do I know if a search was legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Hoe do I know if a search was legal?

The police came to my home with a search warrant for my brother-in-law who resides across street with my sister. They say that they found a blunt roach in an ashtray outside my home giving them right to search it and arrest me and my boyfriend. They never did make any contact with my brother-in-law.

Asked on January 14, 2019 under Criminal Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you house was the address on the search warrant, then the search would most likely be legal, even if it turns out your brother-in-law resides across the street: they searched pursuant to a search warrant issued by a magistrate or judge.
If your house was not the warrant's address, then the search would probably be illegal--they can't search address 2 based on a warrant for address 1; and even finding the roach would not let them search without your consent (though certainly, it would have been evidence they could have used to get a warrant for your home) unless there was reasonable evidence of a crime in progress, a threat to someone in progress, or that you would destroy evidence if they did not search immediately. Absent those urgent circumstances, they need a warrant or consent.

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