Many people are under the impression that police need a valid search warrant to search your house, apartment, etc.
In fact, though, police can carry out a search of your residence without a warrant in certain situations. These are:
- You or someone else with the power to do so have consented to the search;
- There is a genuine emergency justifying a search; and
- You are being lawfully arrested--in which case the police may conduct a limited search for weapons that you might use to attack them, or for evidence that you or someone else might be able to destroy.
The good news is that--if you file a motion to suppress evidence in California because of a warrantless search of your home--the prosecution will have the burden of proving that one of these exceptions applies.