Can the police search your home without a warrant?
A search of a residence generally may only be conducted pursuant to a lawful warrant. Searches conducted without a warrant are illegal subject only to a few specific exceptions. The remedy for an illegal warrantless search is the suppression of the evidence obtained from the search.
One exception to the warrant requirement is when the police receive consent. When asked, a person should never consent to a warrantless search no matter what the police might tell you. However, police use many different tactics to obtain consent. A consent to search is valid except where procured by fraud, duress, fear, or intimidation or where it is merely a submission to the supremacy of the law.
If police imply that the defendant has no right to resist a search, any purported “consent” will be found invalid. Such coercion may be implied by what police say. For instance, asking for consent to search while also affirmatively telling the subject that the search is “necessary” renders consent invalid because it implies that refusing to consent is not an option. Similarly, consent is invalid if police assert that they will get a warrant regardless of consent, as though a warrant were a foregone conclusion—though merely stating that they will seek a warrant may be permissible. Actions, too, may imply coercion. If someone voluntarily opens the door for police, who then enter with guns drawn and begin searching with no further discussion, there is no valid “consent” to the search because in such circumstances, no reasonable person could interpret merely opening the door for entry as also implying consent to search the premises.
If you find yourself having been arrested after a search of your residence, you should immediately hire experienced criminal defense lawyers such as Vonderheide & Knecht to help you fight the State.