Do police need a warrant to search my home in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Sep 04, 2014 | 0 Comments

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:

  1. You or someone else with the power to do so have consented to the search;
  2. There is a genuine emergency justifying a search; and
  3. 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.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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