Can Police Search My Property Without a Search Warrant in Illinois?

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Criminal charges related to theft, weapons violations, and possession of controlled substances are often the result of a police search of a vehicle or a home. However, if a police search was conducted, and the proper procedures were not followed, it is possible that any evidence discovered in the search will be inadmissible in court. According to the “exclusionary rule,” the government cannot use evidence against a criminal defendant that was acquired in violation of the Constitution. It is crucial for every person in Illinois to know what their rights are in regard to search and seizure of their property.

When Are Police Allowed to Search My Home?

You have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches of your property. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states in part that the right of people to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures will not be violated and that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” This means that law enforcement cannot search a person’s property without a good reason for doing so. Typically, a person’s residence cannot be legally searched by law enforcement unless the officers have a valid search warrant that was signed by a judge. However, there are several situations in which police can search your home even if they do not have a search warrant.

If you give police permission to search your home, a search warrant is no longer necessary. The police also have the authority to search your home if another person who lives there, such as a roommate or family member, gives them permission to search it. Police may also conduct a warrantless search if illegal items are in plain view, any evidence is being destroyed, if you or another household member is being arrested, or if there is a risk of immediate danger.

When Do Police Have Authority to Search My Vehicle?

Although you still have Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches of your car, truck, or other vehicles, police typically do not need a search warrant in order to legally search a vehicle. Many police vehicle searches occur during a traffic stop after a driver was pulled over for speeding, running a red light, having an expired license or registration, or otherwise violating a traffic statute.

During a traffic stop, police must only have “probable cause” in order to search the vehicle. Probable cause is typically defined as a reasonable belief that a crime may have been committed or that evidence of a crime exists in the property. However, a great number of police vehicle searches occur simply because the driver does not realize that he or she has the right to deny a police search.

If the police say something like, “Do you mind if I take a look in your car?” You have the right to say “No.” Police may still search your vehicle even if you do not give them consent; however, the police will later have to explain the reason for the search. If an officer cannot prove that there was probable cause for the search, it is possible that evidence obtained during the search will be suppressed.

Contact a St. Charles Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

Police may not conduct a search of your home or other property unless they have a valid reason to do so. If you are facing criminal charges due to contraband found in your vehicle, home, or other property, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC right away. Our experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys will build an aggressive defense on your behalf to reduce or dismiss the charges altogether. Call our office today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free consultation.