When Does a Search of Your Home Become Illegal and Inadmissible?


When the police show up to search your home, they want to find evidence that can help them arrest and build a case against you. What they find in your home could potentially make it harder for you to defend yourself, so preventing them from presenting that evidence could be a key part of your defense strategy.

In order to challenge evidence found during a search and convince the courts to exclude it, you typically have to show that the search itself was illegal and therefore the evidence is inadmissible. When would a search become potentially problematic for the law enforcement officers involved?

When they don’t have probable cause or permission to search

Police officers sometimes bully or even force their way into someone’s house without their permission. You have the right to deny them entry unless they have a warrant or reason to suspect a crime in progress.

They might also try to manipulate the situation to their own benefit, such as by showing up when they know that you won’t be home and convincing a roommate to let them in. If they don’t have permission to enter the property or if they only have permission to search shared spaces, you may be able to challenge something they find in your room.

The same is true if they let themselves into your house or search your backyard without permission or probable cause.

When their warrant isn’t complete or they violate its scope

Officers could show up at your home with unexecuted or unsigned search warrants in the hope that you won’t check things over before you open the door. Reviewing a warrant for the signature and appropriate information is always crucial. They could have the wrong address, for example.

There could also be limitations to the scope of the search. They may only be able to search certain parts of your house or look for certain kinds of evidence. When officers don’t have a valid warrant or when they violate the terms of the warrant, you may be able to fight the evidence they located because of their decisions.

Challenging evidence is only one of many ways to plan a criminal defense strategy. The sooner you start looking at your options, the greater your chances of success when fighting back against a serious criminal charge.

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