The police are meant to protect and serve their communities, but not every interaction with law enforcement is a positive experience. The police can become very hostile if they suspect you of committing a criminal offense. If you are under investigation for an alleged crime, you may be subjected to a search. The police conduct searches of homes, vehicles, or even your places of business if they have reason to believe they will find evidence of a crime there. However, the police usually must have a signed warrant to perform a search. Even so, there are numerous instances where police do not need a warrant. Unfortunately, police have been known to ignore warrants and conduct illegal searches too.
Police generally must have a warrant to search your home or other private spaces because searches are highly invasive. However, the police sometimes conduct searches without a warrant. Depending on your circumstances, this kind of search may or may not be legal. If you are being searched and there is no warrant, it may be unwise to attempt to stop the search because there is a chance the police are acting under an exception to the warrant rule. However, before the search, you can ask the police if they have a warrant. If the answer is no, request a reason why. You may not stop the search, but you can gather vital information to use later after consulting with a lawyer.
If you were subjected to a search by law enforcement without a proper search warrant, you might have grounds to suppress any evidence that was seized. You should speak with our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys about your situation to determine if your search was indeed unlawful. Call our experienced and dedicated legal team at (909) 861-8075 to schedule a free and private consultation.
Challenging Warrantless Searches by the LAPD
Warrants are required in most cases, but certain circumstances allow the police to search without a warrant. However, if police conduct a warrantless search when a warrant should have been obtained, the search is unlawful.
It is probably not a good idea to try to stop the police from performing a search when they do not have a warrant. In many cases, the police mistakenly believe their warrantless search is justified under an exception to the warrant rule. Trying to interfere with what the police believe is a legal search may result in additional charges and legal penalties for obstruction of justice or other offenses.
If you or your home are being searched without a warrant, you should immediately contact an attorney. You can explain the situation to a lawyer who can help you figure out if the warrantless search was lawful or not. If the search was illegal, your lawyer can immediately begin working on getting any evidence suppressed. Our Riverside criminal defense lawyers are here to assist you in any way they can.
What Are The Types of Searches that Require a Warrant in LA
Essentially, all searches require a warrant unless an exception to the rule covers the situation. The necessity of a warrant may also depend on the location of the search. For example, vehicles are more easily searched without a warrant. Your home, however, is a sacred private space and almost always requires a warrant to be searched.
If you are unsure if the police need a warrant to search in a particular location, you should consider your expectation of privacy in that location. The greater your expectation of privacy, the more likely the police will need a warrant. People always have an expectation of privacy in their homes. However, there may be a lesser expectation in other places. For example, a vehicle typically has a lesser expectation of privacy because the inside can easily be seen from the outside. The fact that vehicles are easily moved means there is a greater risk of losing important evidence.
People have no expectation of privacy in public spaces. For example, if a person is dealing drugs in a public park, the police can search the park or even set up surveillance in the park without a warrant because it is a public space. If you are unsure whether the police needed a warrant to search you, call our San Bernardino criminal defense lawyers for guidance and advice.
When Can The Los Angeles Police Perform a Search Without a Warrant
Many exceptions to the warrant requirement revolve around vehicles. As mentioned previously, vehicles are mobile and when they move, important evidence or contraband may be lost. Therefore, police can more easily conduct a warrantless search on a vehicle. Due to the lowered expectation of privacy and the exigent circumstances that surround vehicle searches, the police rarely need to get a warrant before searching a vehicle. Police can typically dispense with the warrant if they believe there is a safety threat, such as a driver who is armed and behaving erratically. They can also conduct a search incident to a lawful arrest. However, that search may be limited only to what was within reach of the arrestee.
Another common exception is the plain view exception. This rule holds that a warrant is not needed if the evidence is in plain view of the officer. Again, given the fact that the inside of a vehicle is easily visible from the outside, almost everything in a car could be in plain view. However, for this exception to apply, the officer must be lawfully present. For example, if you invite a police officer into your home and they see drugs on your coffee table, they do not need a warrant to seize the drugs because they are in plain view. The officer was also lawfully present in your home because you invited them in.
There are more exceptions to the warrant rule than those listed above. Determining if a warrant is needed can be tricky, and the police do not always get it right. Call our Santa Clarita criminal defense attorneys and let us help you.
Motions to Suppress Illegally Seized Evidence
If the police searched you or your property without a warrant, our team of Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can immediately begin work on suppressing any evidence that was seized. A motion to suppress is like a request from your attorney to the court to prevent a particular piece of evidence from being presented at trial. Evidence must meet stringent legal standards to be allowed in court. Evidence seized illegally without a warrant does not meet these standards and must be kept out.
If you were searched without a warrant, any evidence taken during the search could be illegal, and we may be able to prevent prosecutors from using it against you. Call our Glendale criminal defense lawyers for more information.
Contact Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you were subjected to a warrantless search by law enforcement officers, you need to speak with a lawyer right away. Your search may not have been lawful, and any evidence seized during the search should be suppressed. Call our Diamond Bar criminal defense lawyers at (909) 861-8075 to talk about your case with our team.