Your Right to Unreasonable Search & Seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed to protect U.S. citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” This Amendment prevents law enforcement from searching and seizing your property during an investigation without a warrant based on probable cause.
You have a right to prevent the police from coming into your house without a warrant issued by a judge, meaning if they violate this law, anything they seize is inadmissible in court against you. There are other significant reasons to refuse law enforcement into your home.
Reasons To NOT Consent to a Search
You Can Never Be Sure What Police Will Find
First of all, if the police do not have a warrant to enter your home, you are the only one who can grant them entry. If you do allow them inside, they are authorized to look around your home and file a report about what they saw during that time. While you may not be guilty of a crime, the fact that they are there indicates they are actively investigating, and you may be on their list of suspects.
Other innocent people have been convicted of crimes before merely by virtue of being one suspect in the wrong place at the wrong time. Preventing law enforcement from entering your home could keep them from jumping to conclusions about you or finding potential evidence that could lead to a full, approved search of your home or property.
It Can Be a Waste of Time & Cause Damage to Your Property
In addition, even if you have nothing to hide, a search can not only waste your time but damage your property. Searches can take anywhere from thirty minutes to hours, and you could be missing work or running important errands. Likewise, law enforcement officers aren’t shy about handling your items. If some of them are delicate, they could accidentally destroy your property. By inviting them in, you waive your Fourth Amendment rights and have few legal options if they destroy anything of yours.
Refusing a Search Can Protect You
Police may end up searching you anyway even if you refuse, but they would have to prove probable cause to conduct a warrantless search in the first place. If they did not have one, this can work in your favor if you end up in court.
However, if you agree to a search and police find evidence against you, that can work against you in the future.
Were Your Rights Violated?
Remember, as a U.S. citizen, you do not have to let a police officer into your house without a warrant. If they need to speak to you, consider talking to them outside on your porch or front stoop. If you have time, you could also tell them you could answer their questions at the police station.
However, if they do violate your Fourth Amendment rights, you are protected under the law. Talk to one of our skilled Phoenix criminal defense lawyers at Knowles Law Firm, PLC in a free case consultation. Our attorneys have more than twenty years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us help you defend your rights and your freedom.
Call us or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.