while raiding a house, do they need a seperate search warrant to search a temp.roommate small locked safe

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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while raiding a house, do they need a seperate search warrant to search a temp.roommate small locked safe

A small locked.safe that is not part of the homei.e. personal lock box can the temp roommate be charged with the contents since he is not the homeowner in which the raid took place.

Asked on November 11, 2017 under Criminal Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The courts will look to the facts to determine if the search was legal. While the police may generally only search pursuant to, and within the authority conferred by, a warrant, the courts will not throw out evidence which the police found in good faith, reasonable reliance on the warrant and its power,  even if it turns out they exceeded or went beyond the warrant--the key is, the police *must* have acted reasonable and logically and in good faith
So, say that someone was home at the time and informed the police that the lockbox belonged to somone else (e.g. a guest), or the lockbox had another person's name, etc. on it: in those cases, since the police were given information that the box did not belong to the person whose home they were searching, they should not have opened it. Possibly, they could have temporily impounded it or had an officer secure it while seeking a new or amended warrant to allow it to be searched (i.e. they could have made sure that it or its contents was not removed while seeking a warrant for it), but still, if there was credible evidence that the lock box was not covered by the warrant (as not being a part of the home and not belonging to the homeowner), it should not have been searched.
On the other hand, if there was no reason for the police to at the time know that the lock box belonged to a guest, they could have searched it, as being part of the home. Since they acted in a reasonable, good faith manner, it is very unlikely that a court would later throw out the results of that search.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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