Can Police Search Without a Warrant?

Search warrants are not required for every search. Many exceptions allow police to search without a warrant.  Below are some examples:


-Exigency- Exigency or exigent circumstances means that there is an emergency that justifies the search. If the police think someone is in danger, they can search without a warrant. If the police are in hot pursuit of a suspect, they can follow the suspect into a private residence. 


-Destruction Of Evidence- If the police think you are destroying evidence, they can search without a warrant.


-Consent- If you consent to the search, then it is legal. 


-Search Incident To Arrest- When police have cause to arrest you, they can search you and your immediate surroundings. The police have justification for this search to look for weapons that might endanger them.


-Plain View- If police are in your home for a valid reason and they see evidence of a crime or contraband (like drugs) in plain view, police can seize the evidence. Police can’t open containers or move objects to claim plain view.


-Automobile- When police pull you over for a traffic violation, they can take advantage of some exceptions to the search warrant requirements. The law gives you a lessened right to privacy in your car compared to your home. 

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