Can police enter private property with no search warrant? 46 Answers as of July 18, 2011

Can you be charged and convicted of a crime if you were on your own private property in a rural area outside of city limits within a private gated lake and the cops came but had no warrant to be there?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Not unless there is an emergency they can articulate or the are in pursuit of someone they have reason to suspect committed a crime.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/18/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
Unfortunately, I would not be able to answer this question without a lot more information. There are a number of circumstances in which a warrant is not required. Also it makes a difference whether you were inside your house as opposed to simply on your property. Please add more details or feel free to contact my office.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/3/2011
Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
The police do not need a warrant if they observe a crime being committed or they see contraband (illegal items) in plain view. This is called exiting circumstances which do not require a warrant. This allows the police to enter private property without permission
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/2/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
To answer I would need further fact and circumstances because the police can search without a warrant in certain situations such as if they have probable cause to believe a crime is being committed or evidence is about to be destroyed and there is not time to get a search warrant. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/2/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
Probable cause for a search can be a tricky area of the law and is often very contentious. This would depend upon the specific circumstances leading up to their entering the property. If you believe that your property was searched without probable cause, you may have a strong defense in a criminal case. You should speak directly to an attorney in your area to determine whether or not an illegal search was conducted.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    There are some exceptions to the warrant requirement.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Answers to your question are very fact specific. Basically, all searches must be done with either a search warrant or using an exception to the warrant which has been defined by case law. These laws are always being refined and are never static. As a result, the ultimate answer to your question may need to be litigated before the US Supreme Court. In order to get there, the questionable search must be challenged in court and appealed up if the challenge was denied. Any questionable search must be evaluated by an attorney to determine if there is grounds to challenge it in court.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    It depends, do the cops have some exigent circumstances that gets them around the warrant? Was the act in question within "plain view" from outside the property? Either way, it sounds like you have a great suppression issue. So, arrest, yes, convicted, depends on the circumstances, and the court's ruling on the motion to suppress.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Although the federal constitution (and thus the 50 states' constitutions) generally prefer search warrants, the courts have carved out numerous exceptions to the search warrant requirement. Exceptions include "hot pursuit," exigent circumstances to prevent the destruction of evidence, the so-called "emergency aid doctrine" (i.e. someone on the property is in distress and the police must help the person). There is also less protection, constitutionally, on your property than actually in your home. The rule of thumb is basically, the closer to the actual home, the more constitutional protection you are entitled to. I'm not sure based upon the information provided if an exception applies in your case. Also, although your question did specifically mention a search warrant, if the police were actually serving an arrest warrant, they can sometimes enter if they believe the person to be arrested is on the premises.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
    There are certain circumstances in which police may enter private property without a warrant. The laws and court cases in your state, as well as U.S. Supreme Court decisions, control this issue. In Minnesota, for instance, law enforcement can enter private property without a warrant to arrest for DWI. There are numerous other circumstances in which law enforcement is permitted to enter private property without a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes, because there are many exceptions to the warrant requirement. You need criminal defense counsel, and we can represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    Generally, police searches that are not supported by a warrant are unlawful. If the search is unlawful, the Court will most likely suppress the evidence that the police found as a result of the search. However, there are exceptions to the requirement that the police have a warrant to conduct a search. The legality of the search of your property is going to depend on the specific facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I think they needed a warrant unless they could observe felony activity committed in their presence while they were legally present. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    The answer is yes, only if there are what is called "exigent circumstances," for example; police are chasing a suspected killer or rapist who runs on your property. Police have no time to get a warrant. Basically, when your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search & seizure is outweighed by the public's right to safety, there may be no requirement to get a warrant. It all makes common sense. Thin of it this way, if the police were required to get a warrant, which would result in endangering someone, then they have exigent circumstances and don't need a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    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: 5/31/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Can they enter a residence? Yes, in pursuit, or with consents. Enter onto private land? Yes, to investigate. CAN they charge you? Of course. They may think they can convict you. Of course you can fight it. 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? 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. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it. Go to trial if it can't be resolved with motions or a plea bargain. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all disappear. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict and jail you. 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: 5/31/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We are the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, criminal defense attorneys located in Augusta, GA. I would recommend that you contact and retain an experienced criminal lawyer in your community to research whether or not this search comes within any of the exceptions to the general rule, under the Fourth Amendment, that the police should have a search warrant. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes they can enter the private property.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The answer is it depends. There are different reasons for entering property and conducting a search. Outside the curtilage of the home, in Michigan, discovery of incriminating evidence involving a controlled substance will not be subject to the exclusionary rule. However, inside the home, or other type of evidence may require a search warrant if the items discovered are sought to be used as evidence at trial. Exigent circumstances can be an exception to the rule. Even a garbage search can be an exception. In short, the details of each situation must be reviewed. The general rule is that persons are to be secure in their homes except where there is a warrant based on probable cause. From this, there re rules and exceptions. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Did you or someone in possession give them permission to enter? If not, there is a very good possibility the search can be tossed out. If yes, then you may be in a real tough spot. Call for further consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Marc K. Herbert
    Law Office of Marc K. Herbert | Marc K. Herbert
    Due to several loop-holes in the Fourth Amendment, police do not always need a search warrant to enter private property. No search warrant is needed when the land-owner gives consent to the search or when the illegal action or item can be plainly viewed. Also, no warrant is needed if an emergency exists or if officers believe that evidence may be destroyed if they delay in taking action. Without more information, it is hard to give a complete answer. If you have any more questions about this case, please call my office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    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. 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: 5/31/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    This sounds like it could be an illegal entry. Talk to your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    That is a complicated question. It depends on whether there exists some exception to the warrant requirement such as an emergency. You should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It depends on whether you, or anyone living there, gave the police permission to search your premises, or whether an emergency situation arose which caused the police to come to your property. In those circumstances, you can be searched and any contraband found can be used in a court of law to convict you of a crime. Generally, the police must have a warrant to search your premises or an arrest warrant before they can enter your home. I assume you had competent counsel represent you in the case, and a Motion to Quash the Arrest and suppress evidence was filed in your behalf. If not, you may be out of luck now.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The answer to this question depends on why the police were on the property. If the police were lawfully on the property, what they observe in plain view can form the basis for criminal charges. Police, on the other hand, cannot just enter onto private property because they want to. For a more complete answer, more information would be needed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    A search warrant is just one of the ways the police can enter your property. Some of the other ways they can enter property include if they are in "hot" pursuit of a suspect, if they believe someone is in immediate peril, or if they believe evidence will be destroyed if they take the time to get a warrant. Whether they could enter where they did in your case depends on a close examination of the facts and circumstances. Not even all searches under warrant stand up to judicial scrutiny. If the entry is found to be improper than the evidence found can not be used in court, generally speaking. I suggest you go meet with a criminal defense lawyer in your area. If possible, take the arrest report with you when you go. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    The police can only enter private property without a warrant under certain conditions: Either they were given permission to enter the property by you, or another authorized person, such as another resident of the property, or the police had exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances exist when the police are chasing after a suspect, who runs into his property to escape, for example, or the police hear a crime being committed, such as a shooting, or see marijuana growth, or the police are aware that evidence is being destroyed. The search can be challenged in a pre-trial motion known as a suppression motion.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The answer really depends on circumstances but generally the police have no right to enter a residence w/o a warrant. The exceptions are expanding and recently the Supreme Court in Kentucky v. King said it was okay to break in if police heard drugs being destroyed. The King case seems to be the latest in a long line of cases which have weakened the 4th amendment. You should contact a lawyer in the area and meet to discuss your case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police can do whatever hey want and lie about it afterwards to try and make their conduct conform to constitutional standards. They can claim that the owner or an occupant consented to their entry and they saw contraband in plain view. They can claim that the owner or another consented to the search. They might say that there was an emergency that prompted them to enter the premises and that while there lawfully under the emergency doctrine they discovered drugs, stolen property, evidence of a crime, or other contraband.Normally the police need a search warrant signed by a judge upon probable cause in order to search a premises. It must clearly describe the premises, the items to be seized, and a description of the residents if applicable. The informant or the police must tell the judge what is in the house, car, apartment, or other location and the information must be reliable. The police calm get a no-knock warrant or an all hours warrant and must return the warrant within 10 days and must execute the warrant within a short period of time. They must show you the warrant if you ask to see it. If they violate any of these conditions your attorney can move to have the evidence suppressed. Feel free to call for a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    To enter onto private property, the police need either a search warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. There are several such exceptions, including the consent of the property owner or probable cause to believe that evidence will be found combined with a risk that the evidence will no longer be available if police get a warrant. I can't tell whether an exception exists from the question; you should talk to a lawyer about it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Only if they have probable cause to enter. ie. you or someone else let them in; a neighbor reported screaming and it sounded like someone was being beaten.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, but chances are, the cops had probable cause, or a reason to come in. Or, what often happens is the cops implicitly ask for permission to enter, and someone on the property does not say no, or somehow consents indirectly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    It depends. The curtilage, or the part of your property that is immediately surrounding and closely associated with your home, you have a privacy right to. But, so-called open fields, even within your property line, you don't. You should hire a lawyer to try to persuade the judge that the cops violated your privacy rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Where police can go in pursuance of the duties depends greatly on the facts of any particular case. Such a challenge to what they discovered could end the criminal charges. Your best option is to hire an attorney as quickly as possible to mount an effective defense.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The police can only come onto your property if they have a warrant, a valid warrant exception, or with the owner's permission. If they did not have a warrant or a warrant exception, then you need to seek legal counsel right away. They will be able to tell you on how you need to proceed or if any motions need to be made.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    This is a tricky one to answer without more details - generally, cops need a warrant to enter, but there are a number of exceptions. If you have been charged or you you think charges may be pending, you should speak to a lawyer about what happened.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    There are exceptions to the warrant requirement which may justify police entry.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It depends upon the facts and circumstances. However, they should not be able to just walk into or onto private property without just and reasonable cause to believe a crime is being committed on that property. Consult with an experienced criminal attorney and fight this one soon. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Yes, it is possible. There are other exceptions which could lead to the police lawfully being on private property. They could have consent. Any owner or occupant can give permission to the police to enter. This comes up in roommate cases all the time. There might also be exigent circumstances. For instance during a fire the police and fire can enter to save live and property. If during such an event something illegal is found, say drugs, an arrest can follow even though they did not have a search warrant at the time. There are other possibilities as well. A search warrant is just one method for lawfully entering private property. The case, as with most cases, will all turn on the specific facts. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Without a warrant, the police are going to have to justify their entry onto the private property and any search they conducted. There's no way to give a full answer from what little you wrote, as search issues are very fact-specific. You're going to need to consult with a criminal defense attorney that practices in the county where your case will be heard.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    The commission of a crime on private property is not generally a defense. For example, it would be nonsensical to not be able to be prosecuted for a murder just because it was on private property. As to the warrant issues, there are many exceptions. Police can enter private property based on emergency circumstances or report of a crime or disturbance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Maybe. Depends why the police were there.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/31/2011
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