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When can the police legally search your home?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When people are in their homes, they have a level of comfort and security that they do not have in many other places. They expect what occurs inside their home to be private and that people outside of the home will not know what is going on inside. This is true especially for the police. Police have a job to do in Maryland and that is to enforce the law. In order to do this they need to figure out when people are breaking the law.

Police need to collect evidence of crimes though to determine when people break the law. There are many rules that prevent police from simply searching anyone that they want to search. People have protections from unreasonable searches by police through the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The term unreasonable was not specifically defined in the Constitution though. What police are allowed to search and what they are prohibited from searching has been developed through various cases defining the rules.

Rules for police searches of homes

These rules do not completely prohibit police from searching people’s homes, but they are only allowed to search homes in certain situations. Generally, police need to obtain a search warrant in order to search people’s homes. However, there are some exceptions to that rule.

Police can search a home if they receive consent to do so from people lawfully at the home. They can also search homes, if the police have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed and there are exigent circumstances that make obtaining a search warrant unreasonable. The police can enter homes to make a lawful arrest or if they can see into the home through plain sight from places they are lawfully able to be.

When police follow the rules for searching homes in Maryland, any evidence that they recover can be used to convict people of crimes. However, if they do not follow the rules and the search is unconstitutional, any evidence that the police obtain can be suppressed and convictions become very unlikely. Experienced attorneys understand the defenses available to people and may be able to help protect one’s rights.