Can police search my home for one thing then charge me for something else? 59 Answers as of June 11, 2013

I had two cops come into my apartment and say that there was a call by management about possible drug use here. I let them in and they asked to search and I let them. I am having problems here at my building. I am moving also. Can they search my place for the drugs and have it be another thing?

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Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
You gave them consent to search so yes, they can.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Most likely the evidence will be admissible because you waived your Fourth Amendment rights and let them in. Once lawfully inside, they could legally seize any evidence of crime that was within their "plain view." You could maybe make an argument that they entered first, without permission, and coerced your permission, as you were not free to leave. Depending on your facts there may exist other objections available. The facts of your case need to be reviewed by you and your lawyer. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/6/2011
Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
Typically, cops must have a search warrant to come into your home and look for evidence. If they did not have a warrant and you had told them they could not enter, then they could not have legally searched your home. However, if you consented to them searching your home, then they would not have needed a warrant but that search should have been limited to the area or areas you told them they could search. If they discovered anything in that area or those areas, or if there was anything in plain view when they were searching those areas, then the state would argue that the search itself was valid and the evidence obtained was as well.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/6/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
A voluntary search will allow them to charge anything they find.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 5/6/2011
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
Yes, your biggest mistake was consenting to the search. You did not have to allow them in. So whatever they find in the course of the search they can charge you with. You need to hire an experienced attorney, visit my website for more information.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/5/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Unfortunately, you gave them permission so yes. Your permission is permission to search - it is difficult to argue when they find something else - particularly when they were searching for drugs that can fit about anywhere. Now, that is not to say the analysis is over. If they are searching for drugs but come in and immediately, start writing down serial numbers of your TV, Stereo etc. and then charge you with possession of stolen goods, you have a good case for suppression of the evidence on the argument that the drugs was just a ruse, they were never looking for drugs to begin. That, however, is your word against a cop so you need something to hang your hat on - such as the scenario I set out.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    In the State of Washington, unless police have a search warrant or exigent circumstances exist, they cannot search unless given consent by everyone with dominion and control over the premises. Even then, they must inform you of your right to not consent to a search and that usually has to be in written form. If they search pursuant to a warrant, they are limited as to where they search and what they search for. If the search is consensual then it is only limited by when consent is revoked or expressly limited, for example "don't go in that room".
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You should never have granted permission to allow the police into your apartment without a warrant. Because you did give consent, they have a right to seize any contraband, be in related to drugs or anything else illegal, such as a weapon. Because you are leaving the place is not a valid reason to have the charges dropped by the prosecution. I would advise you to seek the services of an attorney, who may find some other reason for filing a Motion to Suppress the evidence seized during the raid.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    As long as the police have the legal right to be there either through a warrant, a warrant exception, or valid consent, if they discover any contraband, even if it was not what they were initially looking for, then yes they can seize it and charge you. I would advise you to retain an experienced criminal attorney soon.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Generally if the police are searching your home for a specific item or object and then they find something else that you're not supposed to have, it's fair game, but that's usually in a situation with a search warrant. Your situation is a bit different in that you consented to the search. The scope of your consent is often fact-specific and governed by what they said they were looking for and what you understood them to be looking for as well where you said they could look. The answer kind of comes down to the conversation you had with the cops and what the parties understood to be the scope of the consent and other factors that affect the situation such as whether you at some point revoked that consent.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Once you give the police permission to search your premises, car, etc., you can be charged with anything illegal that the police find pursuant to their search.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The quick answer is yes. Once you allowed the police into your home and submitted to a general search, any evidence of unlawful behavior they uncovered in the process would be able to be used against you. This can be limited by the scope of any sort of search warrant they may have had but it sounds as though you consented to the search without a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    Yes. Search and seizure law is complex and whether there was a violation of your rights ultimately depends on the details involved with the search. Here, it sounds like you consented to the search of your home. In doing so, they don't necessarily have to limit their search to just drugs. However, in order to determine whether there may have been a constitutional violation in your case, more detail is definitely needed. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    The simple answer is, Yes. The more complicated question is, would the search be valid? First, never agree to any search. The police are interesting people. They will step between you and a bullet without hesitation, but when you are the subject of their interest they are no longer your friends. That being said, after you have given consent to a search, there are still some questions which need to be answered. Was the consent valid? Was the scope of the search expanded? These are issues which should be reviewed in detail with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The short answer to your question is "yes." If you give a police officer consent to search, and it is stated that they are looking for a controlled substance, the fact that they find an illegal gun, evidence of a murder, or some other incriminating evidence will not generally be suppressed. The consent to search is not limited. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Was the other thing in plain view? If it was in plain view then yes they can charge for that. You hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Yes, for example, if the police entered for one purpose and then found a dead body then obviously they can then pursue a murder investigation. You haven't mentioned what you're actually being charged with. However, the police are limited in the scope of their search so you may have valid defenses on those grounds. Search and seizure law is complicated - you should confer with an attorney about the details of the search.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Please may only search your home with a warrant or by your consent. If you allow them in the home and give them permission then you are out of luck claiming that any evidence seized is not admissible. Best to tell cops to pound sand without a warrant. Remember you have a right not to talk with anyone.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Yes. As long as police are lawfully in your house, they can investigate whatever is in plain view.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Unless your consent was limited, yes. Next time tell the cops to get a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Because you consented to the search the police can search any place drugs may be. If during that time they find some thing illness they can arrest you for that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    The Boerst Law Office
    The Boerst Law Office | Bruce Boerst
    There is not enough information here for me to provide an accurate response. However, in most circumstances, yes. There are many search and seizure rules/laws however, if you invited the police in and they were searching for drugs, with your permission, and, in the course of that permissive search, found something else illegal, they could charge you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    If you allow the police to search then you can be charged with whatever they find or whatever occurs.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Eversole Law, LLC
    Eversole Law, LLC | Steven Eversole
    Unfortunately, the answer to your question is probably yes. Of course, I highly suggest you obtain a lawyer, you may have a search and seizure claim. I would need more information to fully advise you on your course of action. However, it appears you consented to a search of your residence. Without your consent, they could not have entered your apartment without a warrant. But since you consented, anything illegal they find can be used against you. With that being said, there search would have to be limited to plain view, i.e. something sitting on a counter, or coffee table, just something in plain site. They can't go digging through your closets just because you allow them in the apartment. Again, you may have a valid search and seizure Fourth Amendment Claim, and you may not. I would need more information. Please feel free to review my website and my Alabama Criminal Defense Blog.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Yes they can. They may gain access to your home by search warrant or consent. You gave them consent. It doesn't matter why they requested access to your home or why you gave them consent. If they find evidence of any crime they may charge you with that crime.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, they can arrest you if they find something else that is illegal in a search for drugs. The best thing to do is refuse to allow them to search in the first place. Never give police consent to search your apartment without having a warrant. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Martin Blank
    Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
    A police officer can be searching for something or someone and find something in plain view. Depending on the circumstances he can seize that thing or get another search warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Maybe! I realize that is a qualified answer, but the simple truth is that you need to retain an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible to investigate ALL the facts pertaining to your case. In other words, the question of whether or not a valid consent was obtained by the police in your situation will depend upon all the facts. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber | Marshall Tauber
    Once you give the police your consent to search you close off your right to object to what they find. This is why search warrants were created, to limit the scope of the search to the supporting documents. When you freely consent to a search then everything is fair game.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    If you give them consent to search and then they spot some other contraband or evidence of a crime while searching, they can probably use that evidence against you. (Why would you let the police search your home?) Even with apparent consent, there may be some grounds to challenge the search. If you were charged with a crime based on something found in your home, or if you believe such charges are likely, please consult with a criminal defense lawyer in your area. And, stop letting strangers look through your home. Just say "No."
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    They can search anywhere within the scope of their authority. If you consented for them to look for drugs, they can look anywhere drugs might reasonably be found. In that search, if they find something else illegal, yes, it's legal. But... If you gave consent to look for a stolen washing machine, they couldn't look in drawers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Yes. You consented to let them search. You can be charged with anything they find. However, there are other defenses that may be available to you. You should speak with an attorney. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Once you allowed them to search you became an open target to whatever they found!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Beard Law Group, P.C.
    Beard Law Group, P.C. | Christopher Beard
    It depends. You should never consent to a search without a warrant. If you allow them to search voluntarily, you are subjected to whatever they find. Conversely, if you make them develop the probable cause to obtain a warrant, there are parameters they must follow when executing and searching for specific items; however, they will generally always charge you with what they find and leave you and your attorney to suppress the findings. It seems as if there would not have been enough probable cause to obtain a warrant in your case and allowing them to search was an unfortunate decision never allow anyone to search without a warrant. You are absolutely within your rights to refuse and refusal is not probable cause for retrieving a search warrant. Seek the advice of your attorney and make every attempt to suppress.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    What "other thing"? You mean if they come in to search for drugs and find an illegal assault weapon? Need more info. But meanwhile, don't you watch any television - if you did you would know that you never allow the police to search unless they have a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Bad move letting the police in without a warrant. You did not say what else they found, but since a consensual search for drugs would involved a fairly detailed search, you have a search and seizure problem, for sure. You need to consult an experienced, knowledgeable local Criminal Defense Attorney, and provide more detailed information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    If you gave them permission to search, you will have a hard time beating what was found. You should never give them permission to search.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Once you consented to the search (and that was not wise if you knew there was contraband inside) anything they see in plain sight can be seized and you can be charged with illegal possession of that item. If they were looking for drugs and find guns, stolen property, or other contraband they do not need a warrant, they can seize it, arrest you, and the contraband will be admissible at trial.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Purnell Law Firm
    The Purnell Law Firm | Simon Purnell
    Generally, yes. Once you have consented to the search, they can use any evidence found against you. However, the search has to be within the scope of your consent (I.e. Limited to the area you gave them permission to search) and re initial consent must be obtained lawfully.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Pollack, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Jason Pollack, Esq. | Jason Pollack
    As long as the original warrant was valid and If it is illegal to have this contraband then yes.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You let them in, so it sounds like a voluntary search to me.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    California Criminal Defense Center
    California Criminal Defense Center | Ardalon Fakhimi
    If the search of your home was conducted lawfully and other illegal items are discovered by law enforcement during their lawful search, you can be charged for the other illegal items. More information is needed to determine whether the items were lawfully seized in your case. Please contact our office for a free case evaluation if you would like more information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    It is conceivable, but unlikely, that if the police lied to you about why they wanted to search it would render your consent invalid, or that your consent is invalid for other reasons. If they told you they wanted to search for a stolen elephant, they could only look in places where an elephant could be; they could look in the garage, maybe in the basement, not in the pocket of an overcoat hanging in the closet. But, if the consent was valid, covered the place where they searched, and you didn't revoke it, then anything they discover during the search can be used against you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    If you let them come in to search and they find contraband or stolen items in plain view they can seize them and arrest you. The police should not open stuff to search inside without your specific permission.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It depends, but yes if something is in plain view and police are invited then the item is fair game. Just say no to consent searches by police.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    If you consented to the search then what the police find could be confiscated. It depends on many factors including was they found, where they found it and how they found it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, law enforcement must have your consent or a warrant supported by probable cause to conduct a search. Second, if you allowed a search, you may be charged with an offense based on any contraband found or any other offenses noted.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Whenever police seek to search you or your property, or they have searched it and a criminal charge has resulted, you should hire a private attorney as quickly as possible. In the case where charges have not yet been filed, a public defender will not be assigned to you yet. When and whether or not police can use evidence against you can best be argued by an experienced private criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker
    Law Offices of Steven R. Decker | Steven Decker
    If you give them consent to search then anything they discover within their view can be seized by the police. They would not be able to examine your computer contents but if they recognized it as stolen property their search would probably be upheld.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Law Offices of Carl Spector
    Law Offices of Carl Spector | Carl Spector
    If the police discover contraband of any kind while lawfully searching your apartment then the police are permitted to charge you with possession of that item. You are still permitted to challenge the search in court to have a judge determine if it was lawfully seized.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland | Dustan Neyland
    In Texas, if a police officer is given consent to search your apartment and they come across what is a known item of contraband (illegal item), then it may be seized as evidence and used to charge you with a crime. The best tip here is never consent to a police search whether you have something illegal or not.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Yes, If you give the police permission to search your apartment for drugs, and they find a dead body or child pornography or automatic weapons (i.e. the other thing), then you will be arrested for the dead body, pornography and weapons. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/3/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Your mistake was in letting them in without a warrant. Once you let them in and consent to a search, you risk charges if anything illegal is found during and within the reasonable scope of that search. Of course you can fight the charges. 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. You 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. 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: 5/3/2011
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