John Wesley Hall

What are reasonable grounds for searches without warrants?

When facing criminal charges, you understand that it is important to develop a strong defense strategy, but where should you start? One of the first steps to developing the right approach for your defense is to understand the nature of the charges against you, as well as your constitutional rights. If you experienced a violation of these rights, it could compromise the prosecution's case against you.

Depending on what type of criminal charges you are facing, law enforcement may have conducted a search of your property. There are circumstances that allow law enforcement to conduct a search without a warrant, but there must be clear evidence that it was reasonable to do so. If you think the warrantless search of your property or your arrest was in violation of your rights, you can fight back.

The Fourth Amendment and your rights 

There are limited circumstances in which law enforcement has grounds to initiate a search and seizure process or arrest a suspect without a warrant. The law acknowledges that there are times when it would not be conducive to public safety or in the interests of a critical investigation to stop and seek a warrant. These circumstances include:

  • Police may conduct a search without a warrant if it is in connection with a lawful arrest. For example, police can search a person's clothes and purse if lawfully arresting that person.
  • No warrant is required when law enforcement is making an arrest in a public place, as long as there is clear probable cause to move forward with the arrest.
  • If a law enforcement officer believes that a criminal act is underway, he or she may stop suspects and search them for weapons.

These are just a few reasons when a person could find himself or herself under arrest or subjected to a search even without a warrant. The circumstances in which this is permissible are very limited, and if the police overstepped the boundaries of what they can lawfully do, it may compromise the case against you.

Protecting your rights

If you are facing any type of criminal charge, you do not have to face it alone. By working with an experienced Arkansas defense attorney, you can learn more about the defense options available to you. If law enforcement violated your Fourth Amendment rights, you can challenge the actions of the police. A complete evaluation of your case is the first step in addressing these concerns and protecting your future interests.

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