Are the police legally allowed to search my home without a warrant? 43 Answers as of July 12, 2013

If you are throwing a party, and the cops show up at your door, and other than music playing, there is no visible evidence of underage drinking or illegal activity, can they enter your residence without a warrant?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
No, not unless they believe someone is in danger, they are pursuing someone or someone gives them consent to enter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/18/2011
The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
Whether police entry into a private home occurred by either consent or an exception to the warrant requirement requires a detailed analysis by a criminal defense attorney. In the event of a criminal charge hiring an attorney is your best chance of using this to your advantage. In the civil arena, specifically if you are alleging that your rights have been violated, in the absence of a criminal charge and seized evidence, again requires analysis to determine if you have a claim. In either case you should hire an attorney quickly while witness' memories are fresh.
Answer Applies to: Hawaii
Replied: 6/10/2011
LynchLaw
LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
There is an old saying that goes something along the lines of: A mouse my enter, and the cold of night can seep into your home, but the King cannot enter. Today the "King" is the Government. In order for the "King" to enter they should have a search warrant. However there are a few exceptions. They can enter if someone with authority to enter also gives them permission to enter as well. For instance, if you have a renter, that renter can consent to the entry of the police to any area of the house which the renter can also enter. Another example would be exigent circumstances. For instance, if the police demonstrate exigent circumstances they can enter. What are exigent circumstances? Good question. If the police can demonstrate the if they did not enter someone could have faced serious injury or death the unwarranted entry will be lawful. Examples of this would be a leaking gas pipe, or a hostage situation. I can only guess what type of exigent circumstance the police will come up with in your situation. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/9/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
Assume Oregon law applies: Generally they are limited to a knock and talk. If there is evidence of a crime the can investigate. A general search under those circumstances certainly sounds suspect. Did you get cited? If so, was evidence found lead to a criminal charge? If so, a motion to suppress may be successful.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/8/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would need further information but the police can search if they have probable cause to believe a crime is being or about to be committed and that determination depends upon many facts and circumstances, but generally if someone consents to allow the police in and then if they see something in plain sight they can then use that evidence.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/8/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Warrantless searches are presumed unconstitutional. There may be exceptions if a felony is occurring in their presence. Your facts support a motion to suppress the evidence under the Fourth Amendment. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Legally?? You'll get the answer to that from the judge with your evidence suppression motion[s]. In a party / public nuisance situation, they can certainly investigate potential crimes. They can if you let them by not clearly refusing entry and search. Your word versus theirs in court. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? If you were cited or arrested, raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help you in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The police can search if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a crime is being commented or if illegal items will be present.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Under most circumstances, Police need to obtain a warrant from a judge prior to searching a private residence. There are exceptions to the warrant requirement that may allow a search without a warrant though. You should consult an attorney to know for sure.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes, and no. It really depends. If you were arrested you need to retain counsel ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The police are entitled your enter your property if they believe for some reason that evidence of a crime is being destroyed. They do not, however, generally have any authority to enter and search your property unless you let them in.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    The police may be entitled to conduct a search of your home in certain circumstances without a warrant. Typically the officer will need probable cause based on some information with exigent circumstances (meaning getting a warrant would not be practical). An officer may conduct a search with consent of someone that they believe in good faith is authorized to give consent. In your situation if the only issue was a music complaint it is not likely they could enter without either a warrant, obtaining consent, or observing illegal behavior.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    There are some exceptions to the requirement that police officers have a warrant before they enter your home. Unfortunately, there isn't enough information in this e-mail to know if any of those exceptions apply in your case. You should meet with an attorney in person, or over the phone, to discuss your case and see if there is a basis to exclude the evidence that the police retrieved from your home.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If the sole problem is loud music, I would not invite the police into my home. I'd simply turn down the volume and advise the officer that there will be no more loud music. Most of the time, the police will ask your permission to enter the home. You can deny them permission unless they have an exception to the warrant requirement which would allow them to enter the home without a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
    There are very limited circumstances when the police can search without a warrant. A noise violation of state law or city ordinance may be grounds for the police to make contact with you, however, it does not necessarily make it a basis for a warrantless search. Under MN law, one of those exceptions to a warrant is consent. Determining whether valid consent was given or whether there was another valid basis for the police to enter is a legal issue. You should consult with and hire an attorney to represent you on this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Don't think so. No consent, no exigent [emergency] circumstances, no warrant = no entry in my experience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    The police are not allowed to lawfully search your home without a warrant. However, they often do anyway and call it a"search incident to a lawful arrest" which only applies if there was an arrest. Otherwise, if they did a search, if they found contraband, then an arrest may ensue and that arrest would be flawed and could be challenged successfully because of the lack of warrant in the first place. Consult with a competent and experienced criminal defense lawyer right away if that is the case. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    The short answer is no. But there are some exceptions. If they think someone is in danger - even if that just means that you are a danger to yourself, then they can come in. Still, this would be a good case in which to demand a suppression hearing. As a side note, I threw a party many, many years ago when I was in high school. The police arrived. I did not let them in. What got me busted was the clearly drunk teenagers who continued to stumble out of my house over the next hour. Many of them were arrested, and I'm sure many of them told the cops exactly what was going on inside the house. Live and learn. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Warrantless searches are allowed only under certain strict circumstances, exigent circumstances, welfare, crime in progress are but a few. Of course, they may always search if given permission to do so. Volumes have been written on this subject so a quick answer without a lot more background would not be helpful. Please contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    They can search your home if you give them consent, otherwise they need a search warrant. Anything they seize can be suppressed at a hearing if they did not have the authority to search your home. If they were called to the home and saw contraband in plain view it may be admissible in court as an exception to the rule that they need a warrant or probable cause to search you or your property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Police are not supposed to enter a residence without a warrant unless there is consent or if there are exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances would mean that they need to get into the house before they can get a warrant or else evidence of the crime will be destroyed or people are in danger. Police are also allowed to "secure" a crime scene. the problem with a loud party you dont know what the caller said to police. the police may not meet the owner of the premises at the door so do not have the correct person to ticket and people who come to the door may simply consent to police entry w/o question.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    In limited circumstances the police are allowed to enter into your premises without a warrant and/or without permission. Once inside your premises if they observe any illegal activity they can detain or arrest the persons committing the illegal acts.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The police can only enter your home if they have a warrant, they have permission, or a valid exception to a search warrant applies. Loud music would not really fit into a warrant exception. They could only enter if they believed based upon what they heard or saw, that someone was in danger or they could plainly see or smell drug use or underage alcohol use occurring. If this happened and charges were filed, have an experienced criminal attorney evaluate the police report. The charges could possibly get reduced or dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Challenging the validity of a search may often result in the suppression of evidence resulting from the search. Whether or not a search is valid, or whether arguments exist that it was a violation of the fourteenth amendment and State constitutional protections requires a full review of the facts of the case. Accordingly, you would be wise to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. As a general rule, law enforcement may not make a search without a valid warrant supported by probable cause. There are, however, numerous warrant exceptions including cases where contraband is in plain sight, where the search is related to officer safety, or where exigent circumstances exist supported by additional probable case. Running VIN numbers would certainly be suspect where the officers were on the premises related to an arrest warrant and where the person was not in the vehicle. The search would require manipulating the vehicle by opening doors and locating the Vin numbers manually. In such a case, it would seem that strong arguments exist to challenge the search as unconstitutional.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Generally the police need probable cause to enter and search your home, unless someone invites them in.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In the situation you describe, the police can search if they are given permission. It may be innocuous as "may we come in?" Once permission is given, then anything in plain view is fair game. Also, if persons appear to be minors, they can be questioned about drinking, and I suppose anyone can be questioned. Entering without a warrant, where one is required, can result in suppression of evidence, and perhaps a civil rights claim. You should consult an attorney to best have your situation analyzed I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    They can't search your home without a warrant unless there is either consent, or exigent circumstances (an emergency situation like someone in danger).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland | Dustan Neyland
    For the police to enter you home without a warrant, there must be what the law classifies as "exigent circumstances" or evidence of a crime must be in plain view. Exigent circumstances could be an assault in progress or signs that a person inside could be in danger. If the police enter your home and do not have a lawful reason, then any evidence obtained through that illegal entry should not be able to be used against you in a criminal prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    There are a lot of exceptions to the warrant requirement. One of them might have existed, but you didn't include enough facts to know and you probably don't know them. If no exception applies, then, no, they can't enter without a warrant. If you've been charged with something, ask your lawyer. If the police invaded your house, poked around, harassed your guests, but didn't take anything or charge you with an offense, there isn't really anything you can do. In theory, you could sue, maybe, but those lawsuits are hard to win even if you have real damages, which you don't.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, but what often happens is the tenant gives implied consent by not explicitly denying permission. Also, there could be probable cause if the police have reason (ie. 911 call) to believe that there is underage drinking taking place.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you retain an experienced criminal attorney to discuss the advisability of filing a motion to suppress based upon a possible illegal search and seizure. While there are a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement, it appears that you may have an issue worth raising with your criminal lawyer. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Bird & Van Dyke, Inc.
    Bird & Van Dyke, Inc. | Mary Ann Bird
    No, unless they are invited in.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Why do they need to come in? They can get a warrant and or tell you to turn down the music or give you a ticket. They do not have an unbridled right to enter the home without probable cause, unless you invite them in.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    There are certain exceptions to the warrant requirement. One is exigent circumstances, or an extreme emergency wherein someone is in danger or evidence may be destroyed. It completely depends upon the exact facts of your situation. A consultation with an attorney who can ask you pointed questions can give you a more complete response.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Greg Gray
    The Law Offices of Greg Gray | Greg Gray
    Generally speaking law enforcement cannot enter your home without a warrant. This is based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There are exceptions to this rule such as observing a crime in their presence or a reasonable belief that someone inside is in danger. Under the facts that are presented in the question, it does not appear that law enforcement would have the right to enter the home without the owner's consent or the consent of someone who appears to have the authority to consent to the request. Anticipate that law enforcement will have an explanation that suffices under the exceptions recognized by the case law of your jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Based on the facts you provided, no. However, I'm sure the police report would read differently. If the search of the house resulted in any criminal charges, you should hire a lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    They can, if you let them in.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    Before the police can enter your home without a search warrant, they must see a crime being committed or see contraband. The police can also enter if there are exiting circumstances (they believe someone is injured or are in immediate pursuit of a criminal.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/6/2011
    Law Offices of Hugh Anthony Levine
    Law Offices of Hugh Anthony Levine | Hugh Anthony Levine
    Generally speaking, if that is all that was going on, the answer is "no". More importantly, then what happened? Was anyone arrested? Is anyone charged with anything? Was anything seized by the police? Are you concerned about further criminal action, or are you considering suing the police? Feel free to contact me directly through my website. Thank you for your inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/6/2011
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