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This webpage is designed for informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as legal advice. For specific questions please contact an attorney.


Warrants or consent

The police can always conduct a search with either your consent or a search warrant. You have a right, however, to see the warrant before the search begins.

Searches without warrants

• Body

If you are arrested, an officer can search you, without a warrant, for weapons, evidence or illegal or stolen goods. If you are booked and jailed, you may undergo a full body search, including body cavities.

• Home

When an officer may be trying to prevent someone from destroying evidence, your home can be searched without your consent and without a warrant.

If a person is arrested in your home, an officer without a warrant can search only the limited area around the arrested person unless the officer believes that other suspects are hiding in other rooms. While searching your home, an officer can seize evidence of any crime, such as stolen property or drugs, which is in plain sight.

• Cars

Your car and trunk can be searched without your consent or a warrant if an officer has reason to believe it contains illegal goods or evidence. If the police stop your car for any legal reason — such as a traffic violations— they can take any illegal goods in plain view.

Illegal Searches

If an illegal search occurs a judge may say that any evidence found during the search cannot be used against you in court. If no one objects to the evidence before trial, the court might allow the evidence to be used. Even if the judge decides there was an illegal search that does not mean that your case will be dismissed.

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